WFJ Presents: The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act: Are You in Compliance?

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the Women’s Economic Security Act  (WESA) into law on May 11, 2014. The nine-part law imposes new specific requirements on Minnesota employers, most of which aim to address reducing the gender pay gap. Some highlights of the new law include:

• Expands unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act, including leave for pregnancy-related needs
• Increases enforcement of equal pay laws for some state contractors and allows employees to voluntarily discuss their compensation without fear of employer retaliation
• Requires equal employment treatment for pregnant women and parents
• Allows for grandparents of an ill or injured grandchild to use existing earned sick leave to care for that grandchild
• Allows employees to use existing earned sick leave to deal with sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking
• Requires some employers to provide reasonable minor accommodations or the opportunity to transfer positions to expectant and new mothers
• Expands support for employers and others to recruit women in nontraditional occupations and apprenticeships and provides for increased participation of women in business and industry through support of women-owned businesses

The highlights listed above are far from exhaustive. As a result of the new law, we recommend a review of your current employee policies to ensure that you are in compliance with the new law and avoid possible claims by employees. For more information on the law and how it may impact your business, contact our attorneys to set up an evaluation.

Attorney Nicholas N. Sperling