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Minnesota Legislative Update (June 2014)

June 2014

By: Phoebe A. Taurick, Esq.

Minnesota employers need to be aware of recent legislation affecting their responsibilities to their employees. Significant changes include:

The Women's Economic Security Act:

  • Expands Minnesota parental leave from 6 to 12 weeks, and adds leave for pregnancy-related needs;
  • Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy-related needs;
  • Increases protections for nursing mothers, including providing an individual remedy for employees who are not given break time and private space to nurse;
  • Expands uses of existing sick leave to allow for use to care for injured or ill grandchildren, or mothers-in-law or fathers-in-law;
  • Provides for the use of existing sick leave for "safety leave," which is leave for the purpose of providing or receiving assistance because of sexual assault, domestic abuse, or stalking;
  • Provides protection from retaliation for employees who wish to discuss their compensation;
  • Adds familial status as a protected class under the Minnesota Human Rights Act; and
  • Requires certain state contractors to show that they comply with gender based equal pay requirements.

Other Bills:

  • Minimum wage for most employers will increase to:
  • $8.00/hour August 1, 2014;
  • $9.00/hour August 1, 2015;
  • $9.50/hour August 1, 2016 (with subsequent automatic annual increases based on inflation); and
  • Jury trials allowed for claims brought under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Of course, not all of these changes affect all employers uniformly. For a review of your policies or employment handbooks for compliance with these and other recent changes, contact Wessels Sherman's knowledgeable attorneys at (952) 746-1700, or email [email protected].