Will There Be a Women’s Economic Security Act 2.0?
It’s possible that during the next legislative session, the Minnesota legislature will pass additional provisions to expand on the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA).
In May of 2014, the Minnesota Legislature passed WESA, which made a number of changes to employment law in Minnesota. These changes included requiring accommodations for pregnant employees, requiring certain state contractors to obtain equal pay certificates, expanding parental leave under state law from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “familial status,” among other things.
Shortly after WESA became law in Minnesota, a summit was held in Duluth. At the summit, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senator Sandra Pappas, both supporters of WESA, discussed additional steps that may be taken during future legislative sessions. With respect to employment law, these additional steps included: (i) potentially requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to employees; and (ii) adding “family caregiver” as a protected status under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Takeaway: The Minnesota legislature may attempt to pass laws to require paid sick leave or create new family caregiver protections during the next legislative session. Employers who feel strongly about these potential changes, either for or against, may want to consider contacting their local representatives about these issues prior to the beginning of the next legislative session.