New California law benefits mothers with private rooms at workplaces

Working mother Lisa Fazio-Satterberg of Fresno has a tool to help her balance working and caring for her kids: a private mother's room.

"It provides a space where it's clean and completely private with no windows. I feel comfortable here, so I am able to continue breastfeeding and nurse my kids as long as I want because I have this space," said Lisa Fazio-Satterberg.

The mother's room at Realty Concepts was created after a suggestion from Fazio-Satterberg, who remembers the days of pumping in a storage room.

Realty Concepts decided to make a space just for their employees, even before the new California law passed regarding private pumping rooms.

The new law went into effect on January 1.

"If you work at a place with more than 50 employees, you have to have a dedicated room where moms that are breastfeeding or pumping can go. It has to be private. It is clear in the law that it cannot be in the bathroom. It has to be a private dedicated room with a place to sit, with a table, near a sink and near a refrigerator," said Fabiola Gonzalez, First 5 Fresno Deputy Director.

Gonzalez says the law is a major win for working mothers.

Businesses with less than 50 employers are encouraged to comply but can seek exemptions.

"If for some reason they cannot accommodate you, they have to now in writing tell that to the employee," Gonzalez said. "So it's a huge win because now employees know that, 'alright, I have a right to accommodations,' and employers are having to figure out how to accommodate you and if not, they have to give it to you in writing."

She points out agricultural workers are also protected under this law.

Since the law passed, First 5 has received more calls about grants for creating mother's rooms.

At ABC30, this space was transformed to create a comfortable and functional room for nursing mothers.

The new law also means employees are protected to take breaks to pump.

Advocates say the law benefits to mother and child, allowing the child to receive milk longer. It helps women's wellbeing and empowers mothers in the workplace.