Friday, April 28, 2017

UPDATE: San Francisco Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance

UPDATE - April 27, 2017

The BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee meeting with Supervisor Tang on April 5th was very productive. Our members provided essential feedback that reflected the good intent of the legislation with the reality of implementing the requirements, as written. 

We are working with the Supervisor and her staff, to amend the legislation to reflect the correct entity that should be in charge of permit approval for building a lactation room in new and existing buildings - the project sponsor who is generally the tenant - and continuing the discussion with our business community partners regarding the total number of rooms required based on occupancy of the tenant space. 

Stay tuned! We thank Supervisor Tang and her staff for understanding our members' concerns.

Original Post - April 4, 2017

BOMA San Francisco members, staff, and San Francisco Business Community members have been working with San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang (District 4 - Sunset) regarding her recently introduced proposal: Lactation in the Workplace.

Provide Your Feedback on April 5th!

NOTE that the BOMA San Francisco Government Affairs Committee will be meeting with Supervisor Tang on April 5th to discuss this ordinance. Please email the Chair of the Committee, Marty Smith at and if you'd like to attend and provide your feedback. The measure will be moving quickly through the San Francisco City Hall legislative process in April so your involvement is appreciated.

Why Was This Ordinance Introduced?

A similar law introduced by Supervisor Tang and enacted in 2016 created a policy to help city employees transition back to work after having a child. The Lactation Accommodation Policy for city workers provides new mothers with lactation accommodations and encourage flexibility in the workplace.

The Supervisor would like the private sector to follow San Francisco's lead and help mothers as they come back to work. BOMA members feel that employees should be supported in reasonable way that makes sense to the small business tenant, building owner, and to the employees.

What Would The Law Require?

The new 2017 law, if passed, would affect the private sector:

  • Requires employers to provide employees breaks and a location for lactation;
  • Have employers provide a policy regarding lactation in the workplace that specifies a process by which an employee will make a request for accommodation;
  • Defines minimum standards for lactation accommodation spaces;
  • Requires newly constructed or renovated buildings designated for certain uses include lactation rooms;
  • Amends the San Francisco Building Code to specify the technical specifications of lactation rooms for new or renovated buildings designated for certain use.
How Has BOMA Been Involved? 

We appreciate that Supervisor Tang and her staff allowed for our members, Blake Peterson, former BOMA San Francisco President and member of the Board, and Justin Sacco, Vice Chair of BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee, to provide input on her proposal early in the legislative process. 

How Could This Legislation Affect My Commercial Property?

The legislation primarily targets private sector businesses (tenants). Even so, there are requirements for new and renovated buildings that could affect BOMA San Francisco members. 

We were successful in amending the language for adding a lactation room for new/renovated buildings from a square foot requirement to a much more reasonable occupancy load specification of a given renovation project. Even so, the triggers requiring a building owner/project sponsor to add a certain number of lactation rooms, specifically for renovated existing buildings, might still be a bit too high. This happens when:
  • There is a project to renovate the interior of the building;
  • The gross square footage of the interior space designated for employee only use (not public) and included in the renovation project is at least 10,000 square feet;
  • And, the estimated cost of the renovation project is over $500,000.
If these prerequisites are met, then the project shall include a lactation room(s) as follows:

On page 14 of the introduced measure, you'll notice that the project sponsor may fulfill the requirement above by merging the required rooms and provide one room with multiple lactation stations or multiple rooms with multiple lactation stations. 

There may be other concerns so we want to hear from our BOMA member community. Please send your comments to and plan to attend our next Government Affairs Committee meeting on April 5th. Details:

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