HR News in Minnesota!
By Kevin M. Mosher • Mar 12, 2014
HR related news in Minnesota and at the federal level has been dominated by discussion of the minimum wage, and more recently redefining what it means to be a professional exempt person under federal law. For the next couple of weeks we turn to some of the lesser-known bills making their way through the Minnesota legislature that, if they become law, will have significant impact on employers in this state.
EXPANDED PREGNANCY LEAVE.
HF2371, among other things, seeks to bring the Minnesota Parental Leave Law more in line with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by increasing the entitlement from 6 weeks of leave per year to 12. The amendments create further obligations on employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and penalize employers for retaliating against women who request accommodation for their pregnancy. Accommodations specifically addressed in the bill are seating, allowing more frequent restroom breaks and limits on the pregnant employee’s requirement to do heavy lifting.
EXPANDING SICK LEAVE BENEFITS.
HF2990 seeks to amend Minnesota law to require that employers who offer sick leave benefits must allow employees to use those benefits to care for an illness or injury for a mother-in-law and father-in-law. Apparently this amendment is a “whoops, we forgot this one” moment for the legislature, since the same law was just amended last year to expand the entitlement for an injured or ill spouse, parent, grandparents, siblings and step-parents.
FAMILY CAREGIVER A PROTECTED STATUS?
Add Minnesota to the narrow list of states that would, if passed, classify family caregivers as a protected class – i.e. protected against acts of discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). If passed, employers would be prohibited from discriminating against employees or applicants because of their “familial status” and because of their “status as a family caregiver.” The proposed law defines family caregivers as people who are related by blood, marriage, or legal custody; or with whom the person lives in a familial relationship.
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