Workplace Lactation Facilities

Last week, San Francisco’s Senator Scott Wiener made headlines announcing proposed legislation to require lactation facilities in the workplace to employees throughout California.  SB 937 follows close on the heels of the San Francisco ordinance that went into effect on January 1 this year.  We see these requirements having a significant impact on Landlords and Tenants alike, with considerations that will impact leases for budgeting, space requirements, office planning and building permit applications.

The new San Francisco ordinance requires employers to provide employees break time, as well as a location for lactation, with a policy in place regarding lactation in the workplace. The law defines minimum standards for lactation accommodation spaces and requires that interior tenant improvements in buildings designed for certain uses include these rooms.

Projects that meet the following criteria are required to include these rooms

1. When there is tenant improvement project for the interior of the building and

2. The gross square footage of the interior space designated for Employee only use (i.e. space not designated for public use) and included in the project is at least *15,000 square feet and

3. The estimated cost of the project stated in the building application is over $1,000,000.

* While not clearly defined, we assume usable or ‘net’ area and not rentable area.

General room requirements where required:

– The room must be at least 50 square feet, and be located no more than 500 feet or within 2 adjacent floors from the farthest employee workspace it is designated to serve.

– The room must include a hot/cold water ADA sink (only one sink needed when shared by multiple lactating areas). This requirement does not apply if the project does not involve plumbing work.

– The room must have a lockable door. (We recommend a privacy latch with an automatic “occupied” sign)

– The room must have an outlet for a fridge and one additional convenience outlet.

– The room must be identified by a sign.  The room may be used for other purposes, such as a phone room, but must always be available for lactating when needed.

– The room shall meet local and federal requirements for accessibility.

If these three requirements are met, the project shall include a lactation room(s) as follows:
Employee Occupancy
Load of Building
Number of Lactation
Rooms or Stations
50-150 1
151-300 2
301-500 3
501-1000 4
1001-2000 8
2001-4000 11
For each additional 900 employees in excess of 4000 +1
 Yet to be clarified in the ordinance, we assume occupancy to be defined by the actual number of users the office space accommodates.
 Contributors: Daniel Luis, Alanur Kurtkan, Scott Clement, James Hua