In last year’s November mid-term elections, the Minnesota DFL pulled off a so-called “tri-fecta,” which is just a fancy way of saying that the Governor’s office, the House of Representatives, and the Senate are now all controlled by the same party. While the long-term results of this dynamic remain to be seen, early signals are that the legislature has been hard at work on a number of bills that, if ultimately made into law, stand to provide significant benefits to Minnesota employees. A few of the more noteworthy bills include:
HF2/SF2 – This bill, known as the Paid Family Leave Act, would provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement (up to a maximum of $1,000 per week) for things like pregnancy, medical leave, caring for a seriously ill family member, or bonding with a new child. This bill would have a major impact on Minnesota workers, only 13% of whom currently have access to paid family or medical leave through their employers.
HF19 – This bill, which has already passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, is known as the Earned Sick and Safe Time bill, establishes earned sick and safe time requirements for employees who work more than 80 hours a year for an employer.
SF1885 – This bill, known as the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act, is designed to help close the pay gap in Minnesota – which, sadly is still significant and continues to exist across occupations and education levels – by prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their pay history, which helps ensure that future salaries or rates of pay are not anchored to past lower wage rates.
SF405 – This bill provides that, with certain exceptions, non-compete agreements would be barred in the employment context.
HF1056/SF1258 – This bill deals with payment and tax issues that arise in connection with the settlement of workplace sexual harassment and abuse case. The current version provides that in sexual harassment or abuse settlements between an employer and employee, a financial settlement paid by the employer cannot be paid as wages or severance pay regardless of whether the settlement agreement includes a non-disclosure agreement. The bill also provides a state income tax subtraction for damages received for non-physical injuries and sickness (for example, emotional distress).
We here at MJSB are excited about this (and all) worker-friendly legislation, and we’re keeping a close eye on these bills as they work their way through the process. Check back for updates, and, as always, make sure to reach out to MJSB’s lawyers if you feel that you’ve suffered work-place discrimination or retaliation. Be heard, you deserve better.