New workplace protections, programs make Minnesota the best state for workers
New Minnesota workplace laws passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz make Minnesota the best state for workers and their families.
These new provisions support working families, expand worker protections, increase worker knowledge and allow workers to have a greater voice in the workplace.
"These new laws ensure working Minnesotans have safer working conditions, enhanced workplace protections and paid time off to care for themselves or a loved one," said Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach. "These new laws support Minnesota workers and truly make Minnesota the best state for workers and their families."
Supporting working families
Earned sick and safe time: Minnesota workers will have access to paid sick time to take care of themselves or a family member as of Jan. 1, 2024. Under the law, employees statewide will earn one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked and accrue up to 48 hours of sick time each year unless the employer agrees to a higher amount. Workers will be able to take time off work to take care of themselves or a family member when they are ill, to attend medical appointments or to care for a child when school has been closed due to inclement weather, without the risk of losing their jobs.
Paid family and medical leave: Paid family and medical leave is a new program launching for Minnesotans Jan. 1, 2026. It provides paid time off when a serious health condition prevents you from working, when you need time to care for a family member or a new child, for certain military-related events or for certain personal safety issues.
Improved workplace protections for new parents, pregnant and lactating employees: Effective July 1, 2023, updates to the Women's Economic Security Act expand a lactating employee's right to express milk in the workplace and the right of pregnant employees to request and receive a pregnancy accommodation from employers of all sizes. Under the law, more new parents in Minnesota will have a right to up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave. While the prior law applied to employers with 21 or more employees and employees who worked at least half-time for 12 months immediately preceding the request for leave, now all Minnesota employees will have a right to unpaid time off work to care for a new baby.
Protecting workers' health and safety
Minnesota OSHA Ergonomics Program: This first-in-the-nation occupational safety and health program establishes standards to reduce the risk of workplace ergonomic injuries. Program requirements apply to warehouse distribution centers and meatpacking sites with 100 or more employees, as well as hospitals, outpatient surgical centers and nursing homes of any size. Matching safety grants of up to $10,000 will be available to qualifying employers for projects designed to reduce the risk of ergonomic injury to their employees.
Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board: This new board will set minimum standards necessary to protect the health and welfare of nursing home workers. It will have equal representation between workers and employers to level standards, improve working conditions and better serve the vulnerable Minnesotans being cared for in these facilities.
Warehouse distribution worker safety: This law establishes new worker safety requirements for warehouse distribution centers and require DLI to open investigations into warehouse distribution centers when injury rates warrant such scrutiny. It requires communication to employees about each quota they are required to meet, how the work standards for the quota will be measured and any employment consequence for not meeting the quota. The law also allows employees to access work speed data and prohibits retaliation for seeking the data.
Safe workplaces for meat and poultry processing workers: This law requires DLI to appoint a meatpacking industry worker rights coordinator responsible for submitting a yearly report with recommendations to promote better treatment of meat processing workers. The law also establishes enhanced workplace safety standards applying to meatpacking operations with 100 employees or more and gives the DLI commissioner compliance order authority to enforce these standards.
Expanding worker protections
Construction Worker Wage Protection Act: This law establishes that a contractor entering a construction contract assumes liability for unpaid wages, fringe benefits and liquidated damages owed to a claimant by a subcontractor of any tier. This allows DLI to seek unpaid wages and liquidated damages owed to an employee from a contractor. This change is a targeted approach to help prevent wage theft in the construction industry.
Fair labor standards for agricultural and food processing workers: This law updates and expands three existing worker protection laws for agricultural and food processing workers so that a greater number of these workers are protected by these laws and aware of their workplace rights. This law is the result of a recommendation provided to Gov. Walz by the Agricultural Worker Wellness Committee.
Noncompete clauses: This law makes covenants not to compete void and unenforceable. This change ensures workers, including both employees and independent contractors, have the freedom to seek better working conditions and higher wages without restrictions.
James Honerman at 651-284-5313 or email@example.com