Minnesota Employees Receive Additional Protections and Benefits Based on Recent Legislative Changes
Minnesota recently passed the Omnibus Jobs Bill that contains a number of changes that will affect employers with employees in Minnesota. The changes are far reaching and some will be effective as early as July 1, 2023. Employers should start to review their current policies, procedures and other employment related documents and agreements now in order to ensure compliance. The below highlights the significant non-industry specific requirements resulting from the bill:
Effective July 1, 2023, any non-compete with an employee or independent contractor, regardless of the person’s income, is prohibited. Non-compete provisions will only be valid and enforceable if they restrict similar business in a reasonable geographical area for a reasonable period of time and are agreed to: (1) during the sale of a business; or (2) in anticipation of the dissolution of a business. While non-compete provisions are prohibited, employers will still have some protections as the bill does not prohibit non-disclosure agreements, agreements to protect trade secrets or confidential information, and non-solicitation agreements (including non-solicitation of customers and employees).
State-Wide Earned Sick and Safe Leave
Previously, paid sick leave had only been required by a limited number of municipalities in Minnesota. Effective January 1, 2024,employers throughout Minnesota will be required to provide Earned Sick and Safe Leave (ESSL) to employees, including temporary and seasonal employees. Employees are entitled to accrue at least one hour of paid ESSL for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. The bill also contains requirements relating to carryover and provides additional protections to employees regarding retaliation.
Lactating Employees and Pregnancy Accommodations
Minnesota law previously limited the need to provide breaks to express milk to the first 12 months following the birth of a child. Effective July 1, 2023, this time limit no longer applies. Further, employers will no longer be able to deny reasonable break time for employees to express milk, even if doing so would unduly disrupt operations. Finally, the lactation space provided must also be a “clean, private, and secure” room. This space must not be a toilet or bathroom stall, and it must also include access to an electrical outlet.
While employers with 15 or more employees previously had obligations regarding accommodating pregnant employees, effective July 1, 2023 employers with one or more employees must provide such reasonable accommodations. These accommodations may include temporary leaves of absence, modifications in work schedule or job assignments and more frequent or longer break periods.
Employers must also comply with certain notice requirements regarding employee’s rights to breaks and pregnancy accommodations.
Minnesota's Parental Leave Law has been expanded to apply to all employers with one or more employees (instead of 21 or more employees). In addition, the prior service and hours requirements have been removed so that all Minnesota employers will now be required to provide 12 weeks of parental leave to all employees immediately upon the commencement of employment.
Prevention of Mandatory Employer-Sponsored Meetings
Effective August 1, 2023, employers are prohibited from taking action against employees who refuse to attend mandatory employer-sponsored “captive audience” meetings if those meetings are for the purpose of communicating the employer’s opinion on religious or political matters. This change mayimpact efforts by employers during union organizing campaigns. We expect that this part of the bill may be challenged, including on constitutional and preemption grounds.
Modification of Wage Disclosure Protection
Effective July 1, 2023, employers are prohibited from inquiring into, considering, or requiring disclosure from any source of the pay history of a job applicant for the purpose of determining the applicant’s compensation or benefits. Further, employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee for asserting rights under the law, for example, by refusing to provide past salary information.
The above changes are far reaching and will impact various policies, procedures and agreements relating to employees. Employers will want to ensure compliance by the effective dates of each of the above in order to avoid potential claims by employees.
If you have any questions about how the Omnibus Jobs Bill will affect you, please contact your local Quarles attorney or:
- Judi Williams-Killackey (414) 277-5439 / email@example.com