Two New San Francisco Ordinances for 2018: Lactation Accommodation and Salary History Ban

Employers located in or doing business in San Francisco, be aware of new local ordinances that could affect you.
Employers located in or doing business in San Francisco, be aware of new local ordinances that could affect you.

In the past few weeks, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed two new local ordinances relating to lactation accommodation and requests for salary history, which will affect San Francisco employers beginning in 2018.

Lactation Accommodation

Beginning January 1, 2018, San Francisco’s “Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance” will increase existing California and federal protections for nursing mothers working within the geographical boundaries of San Francisco, including part-time employees.

Like existing law, the San Francisco ordinance requires employers to provide employees desiring to express breast milk reasonable break time and a private location other than a bathroom. However, the San Francisco ordinance goes farther in its requirements by stating that the area must:

  • Be safe and clean;
  • Have a surface to place a breast pump and other personal items;
  • Provide a place to sit; and
  • Have access to electricity.

Employers will also have to provide the employee access to a refrigerator and a sink with running water in close proximity to the employee’s work area. Employers do not have to make accommodations that would result in “undue hardship,” such as having to build a room, undertake construction or remove retail space or restaurant seating.

The ordinance also will require San Francisco employers to create and distribute a written lactation accommodation policy, which must include information on how to request an accommodation. Employers will have to keep records relating to accommodation requests for three years.

The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) will enforce the ordinance and issue warnings and notices to correct in 2018. Beginning January 1, 2019, the OLSE may issue determinations and penalties.

Salary History Ban

Beginning July 1, 2018, the “Pay Parity Ordinance” will prohibit employers registered to do business in San Francisco from:

  • Inquiring about an applicant’s current and past salary history;
  • Considering or relying upon an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to hire the applicant or what pay to offer the applicant;
    • If the applicant discloses salary history voluntarily and “without prompting,” the employer may consider the salary history in determining the salary. However, consistent with state law, salary history cannot justify paying an employee of a different sex, race or ethnicity less for doing substantially similar work under similar working conditions.
  • Refusing to hire or retaliating against an applicant for not disclosing salary history; and
  • Releasing a current or former employee’s salary history to a prospective employer without written authorization of the current or former employee. (Exceptions apply where disclosure is required by law or where the information is publicly available or subject to a collective bargaining agreement).

The OLSE will also enforce the Pay Parity Ordinance and issue warnings and notices to correct for the first year. Beginning July 1, 2019, the OLSE may issue determinations and penalties and also possibly refer a matter to the City Attorney, who may initiate a civil action.

A similar statewide salary history bill is currently pending in the Legislature.

Virginia Young, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel

CalChamber members can learn more about state and federal lactation accommodation requirements and wage equality in the HR Library. Not a member? See how CalChamber can help you.

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