April 24, 2014

Women’s Economic Security Act Passed by MN House

Posted in Care of Relatives Leave, Caregiver Leave, Discrimination, Domestic violence, Employee Handbooks, Equal Pay, Family and Medical Leave Act, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Gender / Sex, Leaves of Absence, Leaves of Absence, Minnesota Parenting Leave Act, Nursing Mothers, Pregnancy, Reasonable Accommodation, Workplace Violence tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:32 am by Tom Jacobson

The Minnesota House of Representatives on April 9, 2014 passed the Women’s Economic Security Act (HF 2536) by a 106-24 vote. The companion Senate bill (SF 2050) awaits action in the Senate.

According to the Senate’s bill summary, the law will:

  • Allow mothers to stay in the workplace by expanding family leave and providing minor, reasonable accommodations for pregnant and nursing employees;
  • Decrease the gender pay gap through the participation of women in high-wage, high-demand nontraditional work;
  • Reduce the gender pay gap through increased enforcement of equal pay laws for state contractors and by allowing employees to discuss pay inequities;
  • Address economic consequences of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault;
  • Enhance retirement security by considering a state retirement savings plan for those without an employer-provided option
  • Expand grandparent care-giving options.

The law would also allow employers to reduce the period of leave it may require by the amount of any paid leave or leave required by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), so that the total time off does not exceed 12 weeks. The new law would clarify that only 12 weeks of leave are required even if the employee is eligible for both state and federal leave.

What you need to know: If enacted into law, this legislation will require most Minnesota employers to take a close look at their existing policies and procedures and to make any changes necessary to bring them into compliance.

For more information about this article, please contact me at alexandriamnlaw.com or  taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.

Copyright 2014 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA

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July 19, 2013

New MN sick leave law takes effect Aug. 1 – are you ready?

Posted in Care of Relatives Leave, Caregiver Leave, Family and Medical Leave Act, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Family Leave, Leaves of Absence, Sick Leave, Sick or Injured Child Care Leave tagged , , , , , at 2:27 pm by Tom Jacobson

sick day

Effective August 1, 2013 many Minnesota employers will need to update their policies to comply with the state’s new sick leave law.

In the past Minnesota’s Sick or Injured Child Care law required employers with 21 or more employees at one site to allow employees to use personal sick leave for absences due to an illness of or injury to the employee’s child on the same terms the employee was able to use sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury. Leave under this law could be limited to the reasonable amount of time the employee’s attendance with the child was necessary.

However, on May 24, 2013 Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a significant expansion of these leave rights.  Specifically, the new law provides that:

An employee may use personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness of or injury to the employee’s child … , adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent, for reasonable periods of time as the employee’s attendance may be necessary, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee’s own illness or injury.

The title of the law also changed to the Sick Leave Benefits; Care of Relatives Law.

So, effective Aug. 1, in addition to being able to use sick leave to care for a child, a Minnesota employee working for a covered employer may also use sick leave to care for these other relatives specified in the law.

The law does have limits, however.  For example, it only applies to employees who have worked at least half time for a covered employer for at least 12 months prior to their request. And, not all children are covered by the law, for only those children under 18 years of age (or under 20 if still attending secondary school) are considered children for the purposes of this law. Also, the law does not require an employer to provide sick leave at all. But, employers who do provide a sick leave benefit will need to allow it to be used for the care of the relatives listed in the law.

What you need to know:  Minnesota employers are not required to provide a sick leave benefit for their employees. However, effective Aug. 1, 2013 employers who are covered by the Care of Relatives Law (that is, employers with 21 or more employees at one site) must allow eligible employees (employees who have worked at least half time for a covered employer for at least 12 months prior to their request) to use any sick leave that is provided to care for their children and the additional relatives now listed in the law. Employers who are also covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will have the added burden of coordinating FMLA leave and state Care of Relatives Leave when leaves of absence qualify under both laws.

For more information about this article, please contact me at alexandriamnlaw.com or  taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.

Copyright 2013 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA

November 22, 2011

Thank you, Spencer

Posted in Caregiver Leave, Exigency Leave, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Military Ceremonies, Military Leave, National Guard, Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Act (USERRA), Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) tagged , , , , at 10:07 am by Tom Jacobson

My favorite airman, USAF Academy Cadet 3C Spencer Jacobson, will be home for Thanksgiving break tonight.  Having him here reminds me of how much it means for all of us to be “home for the holidays.”

It also reminds me of how thankful we should be for the thousands of men and women who have chosen to serve our country through their commitment to the military.  As these service members join (or re-join) the civilian workforce, the best way for employers to show their appreciation is to fully understand the legal obligations they owe to our service members and their families.  For example:

    • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) makes it unlawful for any employer to refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against any employee or applicant because of his or her past or present military service.
    • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires larger employers (those with 50 or more employees) to provide leave to eligible employees when they qualify as “military caregivers” or need “exigency leave.”
    • Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires covered federal government contractors and subcontractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment certain categories of veterans; prohibits discrimination against such veterans.
    • Minn. Stat. § 181.535 makes it unlawful for Minnesota employers to question a job applicant about National Guard or military reserve service, unless the employer is a governmental body subject to veterans preference requirements.
    • Minn. Stat. § 181.947 requires Minnesota employers to grant up to ten working days of a leave of absence without pay to an employee whose immediate family member, as a member of the United States armed forces, has been injured or killed while engaged in active service.
    • Minn. Stat. § 181.948 requires Minnesota employers to grant leaves of absence without pay to employees to attend send-off or homecoming ceremonies for mobilized service members who are in their immediate family.
    • Minn. Stat. § 192.325 makes it unlawful for a Minnesota employer to discriminate against an employee because the employee’s spouse, parent, or child is a member of the military; requires employers to provide unpaid time off for employees to attend provide non-paid time off for an employee to attend specified ceremonies and events held on behalf of a family member who serves in the military.
    • Minn. Stat. § 192.34 makes it a crime for any Minnesota employer to discharge or otherwise discriminate against a person because of his or her military service or desire to serve.
    • Minn. Stat. § 197.455 requires Minnesota counties, cities, towns, school districts, and other municipalities and political subdivisions to extend preference points to veterans.
    • Minn. Stat. § 197.46 provides job protection to veterans employed by Minnesota counties, cities, towns, school districts, and other municipalities and political subdivisions.

For more information about which of these laws may apply to your workplace, visit: Minnesota Veterans:  the Road Back Home (Minnesota Department of Human Rights, The Rights Stuff, March 2010); Laws that Protect Veterans and Military Status (Minnesota Department of Human Rights, The Rights Stuff Forum: Minnesota Veterans); United States Department of Labor USERRA Advisor; or,  contact me at taj@alexandriamnlaw.com.

The comments posted in this blog are for general informational purposes only. They are not to be considered as legal advice, and they do not establish an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice regarding your specific situation, please consult your attorney.

  • Copyright 2011 Swenson Lervick Syverson Trosvig Jacobson Schultz, PA

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