Minnesota Legislative Update

Minnesota’s Legislature finished the special session on June 30. Accordingly, below are a few notable changes to laws affecting employers.

Nursing Mothers: Minn. Stat. § 181.939 currently requires employers to provide breaks for employees to express breast milk. This requirement was updated to require employers to provide these breaks for at least twelve (12) months following the birth of a child. Additionally, employers cannot reduce an employee’s compensation for time used for the purposes of expressing milk.

Pregnancy Accommodations: Subdivision 2 was added to Minn. Stat. § 181.939, which requires all employers with fifteen (15) or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee for health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. With the current framework of state and federal laws, accommodating pregnant employees is not necessarily a new requirement. However, this new subdivision provides that a pregnant employee does not need a doctor’s note, nor may an employer claim undue hardship, for the following accommodations: (1) more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks; (2) seating; and (3) limits on lifting over 20 pounds. Additionally, an employer cannot require a pregnant employee to take a leave of absence.

Unemployment Experience Ratings: In December, Employers’ 2021 unemployment tax rate calculation was temporarily postponed by Executive Order 20-102. This legislative session, the Legislature passed a law to “carry over” an employer’s 2020 unemployment tax rate into 2021. As a result, employers’ 2021 unemployment “experience rate” will be calculated the same as it was in 2020.

Employers should review their policies to determine if there are any requires changes based on these new laws. If you have questions regarding these new requirements, or any other employment-related concerns, please contact Caitlin Andersen at (952) 921-4619 or candersen@prkalaw.com, or any other attorney at Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A.

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