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HF 3133

as introduced - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 02/22/2010 11:54am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to employment; providing for workers' compensation benefits for
domestic partners; including domestic partners of military members in employee
leave requirements; providing for payment of wages due a deceased employee
to a surviving domestic partner; amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections
176.011, subdivision 11a, by adding a subdivision; 176.031; 176.041, subdivision
1a; 176.051, subdivision 1; 176.102, subdivision 1a; 176.111, subdivisions 1, 6,
7, 8, 9a, 10, 14, 15, 21; 176.191, subdivision 4; 181.58; 181.947, subdivision 1;
181.948, subdivision 1; Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 176.041,
subdivision 1.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.011, is amended by adding a
subdivision to read:


new text begin Subd. 8b. new text end

new text begin Domestic partners. new text end

new text begin "Domestic partners" means two persons who:
new text end

new text begin (1) are the same sex;
new text end

new text begin (2) are adults and mentally competent to enter into legally binding contracts;
new text end

new text begin (3) have assumed responsibility for each other's basic common welfare, financial
obligations, and well-being;
new text end

new text begin (4) share a common domicile and primary residence with each other on a permanent
basis;
new text end

new text begin (5) have a committed interdependent relationship with each other, intend to continue
that relationship indefinitely, and do not have this type of relationship with any other
person;
new text end

new text begin (6) are not married to another person and have not entered into a domestic
partnership arrangement with another person that is currently in effect; and
new text end

new text begin (7) are not related by blood or adoption so that a marriage between them would be
prohibited under section 517.03, subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (2) or (3).
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.011, subdivision 11a, is amended to read:


Subd. 11a.

Family farm.

(a) "Family farm" means any farm operation which pays
or is obligated to pay cash wages, exclusive of machine hire, to farm laborers for services
rendered during the preceding calendar year in an amount:

(1) less than $8,000; or

(2) less than the statewide average annual wage as described in subdivision 20 when
the farm operation has total liability and medical payment coverage equal to $300,000
and $5,000, respectively, under a farm liability insurance policy, and the policy covers
injuries to farm laborers.

(b) For purposes of this subdivision, farm laborer does not include any spousenew text begin or
domestic partner
new text end, parent or child, regardless of age, of a farmer employed by the farmer, or
any executive officer of a family farm corporation as defined in section 500.24, subdivision
2
, or any spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent or child, regardless of age, of such an officer
employed by that family farm corporation, or other farmers in the same community or
members of their families exchanging work with the employer. Notwithstanding any law
to the contrary, a farm laborer shall not be considered as an independent contractor for the
purposes of this chapter; provided that a commercial baler or commercial thresher shall
be considered an independent contractor.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.031, is amended to read:


176.031 EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY EXCLUSIVE.

The liability of an employer prescribed by this chapter is exclusive and in the
place of any other liability to such employee, personal representative, surviving spousenew text begin
or domestic partner
new text end, parent, any child, dependent, next of kin, or other person entitled to
recover damages on account of such injury or death. If an employer other than the state or
any municipal subdivision thereof fails to insure or self-insure liability for compensation
to injured employees and their dependents, an injured employee, or legal representatives
or, if death results from the injury, any dependent may elect to claim compensation under
this chapter or to maintain an action in the courts for damages on account of such injury
or death. In such action it is not necessary to plead or prove freedom from contributory
negligence. The defendant may not plead as a defense that the injury was caused by the
negligence of a fellow servant, that the employee assumed the risk of employment, or that
the injury was due to the contributory negligence of the employee, unless it appears that
such negligence was willful on the part of the employee. The burden of proof to establish
such willful negligence is upon the defendant. For the purposes of this chapter the state
and each municipal subdivision thereof is treated as a self-insurer when not carrying
insurance at the time of the injury or death of an employee.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 176.041, subdivision 1, is
amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Employments excluded.

This chapter does not apply to any of
the following:

(1) a person employed by a common carrier by railroad engaged in interstate or
foreign commerce and who is covered by the Federal Employers' Liability Act, United
States Code, title 45, sections 51 to 60, or other comparable federal law;

(2) a person employed by a family farm as defined by section 176.011, subdivision
11a
;

(3) the spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, and child, regardless of age, of a
farmer-employer working for the farmer-employer;

(4) a sole proprietor, or the spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, and child, regardless
of age, of a sole proprietor;

(5) a partner engaged in a farm operation or a partner engaged in a business and
the spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, and child, regardless of age, of a partner in the
farm operation or business;

(6) an executive officer of a family farm corporation;

(7) an executive officer of a closely held corporation having less than 22,880 hours
of payroll in the preceding calendar year, if that executive officer owns at least 25 percent
of the stock of the corporation;

(8) a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, or child, regardless of age, of an executive
officer of a family farm corporation as defined in section 500.24, subdivision 2, and
employed by that family farm corporation;

(9) a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, or child, regardless of age, of an executive
officer of a closely held corporation who is referred to in clause (7);

(10) another farmer or a member of the other farmer's family exchanging work with
the farmer-employer or family farm corporation operator in the same community;

(11) a person whose employment at the time of the injury is casual and not in the
usual course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of the employer;

(12) persons who are independent contractors as defined by sections 176.043 and
181.723, and any rules adopted by the commissioner pursuant to section 176.83 except
that these exclusions do not apply to an employee of an independent contractor;

(13) an officer or a member of a veterans' organization whose employment
relationship arises solely by virtue of attending meetings or conventions of the veterans'
organization, unless the veterans' organization elects by resolution to provide coverage
under this chapter for the officer or member;

(14) a person employed as a household worker in, for, or about a private home
or household who earns less than $1,000 in cash in a three-month period from a single
private home or household provided that a household worker who has earned $1,000 or
more from the household worker's present employer in a three-month period within the
previous year is covered by this chapter regardless of whether or not the household worker
has earned $1,000 in the present quarter;

(15) persons employed by a closely held corporation who are related by blood or
marriage, within the third degree of kindred according to the rules of civil law, to an
officer of the corporation, who is referred to in clause (7), if the corporation files a written
election with the commissioner to exclude such individuals. A written election is not
required for a person who is otherwise excluded from this chapter by this section;

(16) a nonprofit association which does not pay more than $1,000 in salary or wages
in a year;

(17) persons covered under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, as
amended, United States Code, title 42, sections 5011, et seq.;

(18) a manager of a limited liability company having ten or fewer members and
having less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the preceding calendar year, if that manager
owns at least a 25 percent membership interest in the limited liability company;

(19) a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, or child, regardless of age, of a manager of
a limited liability company described in clause (18);

(20) persons employed by a limited liability company having ten or fewer members
and having less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the preceding calendar year who are related
by blood or marriage, within the third degree of kindred according to the rules of civil law,
to a manager of a limited liability company described in clause (18), if the company files a
written election with the commissioner to exclude these persons. A written election is not
required for a person who is otherwise excluded from this chapter by this section; or

(21) members of limited liability companies who satisfy the requirements of clause
(12).

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.041, subdivision 1a, is amended to read:


Subd. 1a.

Election of coverage.

The persons, partnerships, limited liability
companies, and corporations described in this subdivision may elect to provide the
insurance coverage required by this chapter.

(a) An owner or owners of a business or farm may elect coverage for themselves.

(b) A partnership owning a business or farm may elect coverage for any partner.

(c) A family farm corporation as defined in section 500.24, subdivision 2, clause (c),
may elect coverage for any executive officer.

(d) A closely held corporation which had less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the
previous calendar year may elect coverage for any executive officer if that executive
officer is also an owner of at least 25 percent of the stock of the corporation.

(e) A limited liability company which had less than 22,880 hours of payroll in the
previous calendar year may elect coverage for any manager if that manager is also an
owner of at least 25 percent membership interest in the limited liability company.

(f) A person, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation hiring an
independent contractor, as defined by rules adopted by the commissioner, may elect to
provide coverage for that independent contractor. A person, partnership, limited liability
company, or corporation may charge the independent contractor a fee for providing the
coverage only if the independent contractor (1) elects in writing to be covered, (2) is
issued an endorsement setting forth the terms of the coverage, the name of the independent
contractors, and the fee and how it is calculated.

(g) The persons, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations described
in this subdivision may also elect coverage for an employee who is a spousenew text begin or domestic
partner
new text end, parent, or child, regardless of age, of an owner, partner, manager, or executive
officer, who is eligible for coverage under this subdivision. Coverage may be elected for
a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, parent, or child whether or not coverage is elected for the
related owner, partner, manager, or executive director and whether or not the person,
partnership, limited liability company, or corporation employs any other person to perform
a service for hire. Any person for whom coverage is elected pursuant to this subdivision
shall be included within the meaning of the term employee for the purposes of this chapter.

(h) Notice of election of coverage or of termination of election under this subdivision
shall be provided in writing to the insurer. Coverage or termination of coverage is
effective the day following receipt of notice by the insurer or at a subsequent date if so
indicated in the notice. The insurance policy shall be endorsed to indicate the names of
those persons for whom coverage has been elected or terminated under this subdivision.
An election of coverage under this subdivision shall continue in effect as long as a policy
or renewal policy of the same insurer is in effect.

(i) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the responsibilities of
owners, partnerships, limited liability companies, or corporations to provide coverage for
their employees, if any, as required under this chapter.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.051, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Farm and household workers.

An employer of workers on a farm
operation or household workers not otherwise covered by this chapter may assume the
liability for compensation imposed by this chapter and the employer's procurement of a
workers' compensation policy constitutes an assumption by the employer of liability unless
the employer elects in writing not to have those persons covered and the policy states
that election. This assumption of liability takes effect and continues from the effective
date of the policy and only as long as the policy remains in force. If during the life of
the insurance policy, an employee, who is a worker on a farm operation or a household
worker, suffers personal injury or death arising out of and in the course of employment,
the exclusive remedy of the employee or the employee's dependents is under this chapter.
For purposes of this section, farm worker does not include a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end,
parent, or child, regardless of age, of a farmer, a partner in a farm operation, or an officer
of a family farm corporation as defined in section 500.24, subdivision 1, nor does it
include other farmers in the same community or members of their family exchanging work
with the farmer-employer or family farm corporation operator.

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.102, subdivision 1a, is amended to read:


Subd. 1a.

Surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end.

Upon the request of a qualified
dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, rehabilitation services shall be provided
through the rehabilitation services section of the Workers' Compensation Division. For
the purposes of this subdivision a qualified dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic
partner
new text end is a dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, as determined under section
176.111, who is in need of rehabilitation assistance to become self-supporting. A spousenew text begin
or domestic partner
new text end who is provided rehabilitation services under this subdivision is not
entitled to compensation under subdivision 11.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Persons wholly dependent, presumption.

For the purposes of this
chapter the following persons are conclusively presumed to be wholly dependent:

(a) spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, unless it be shown that the spousenew text begin or domestic
partner
new text end and decedent were voluntarily living apart at the time of the injury or death;

(b) children under 18 years of age, or a child under the age of 25 years who is
regularly attending as a full time student at a high school, college, or university, or
regularly attending as a full time student in a course of vocational or technical training.

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, no dependent child.

If the deceased
employee leaves a dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end and no dependent
child, there shall be paid to the spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end weekly workers' compensation
benefits at 50 percent of the weekly wage at the time of the injury for a period of ten years,
including adjustments as provided in section 176.645.

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, one dependent child.

If the deceased
employee leaves a surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end and one dependent child, there
shall be paid to the surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end for the benefit of the spousenew text begin or
domestic partner
new text end and child 60 percent of the daily wage at the time of the injury of the
deceased until the child is no longer a dependent as defined in subdivision 1. At that time
there shall be paid to the dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end weekly benefits
at a rate which is 16-2/3 percent less than the last weekly workers' compensation benefit
payment, as defined in subdivision 8a, while the surviving child was a dependent, for a
period of ten years, including adjustments as provided in section 176.645.

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 8, is amended to read:


Subd. 8.

Spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, two dependent children.

If the deceased
employee leaves a surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end and two dependent children, there
shall be paid to the surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end for the benefit of the spousenew text begin or
domestic partner
new text end and children 66-2/3 percent of the daily wage at the time of the injury
of the deceased until the last dependent child is no longer dependent. At that time the
dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end shall be paid weekly benefits at a rate
which is 25 percent less than the last weekly workers' compensation benefit payment, as
defined in subdivision 8a, while the surviving child was a dependent, for a period of ten
years, adjusted according to section 176.645.

Sec. 12.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 9a, is amended to read:


Subd. 9a.

deleted text beginRemarriage of spousedeleted text endnew text begin Subsequent marriage or domestic partnershipnew text end.

A surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end who remarries new text beginor enters into a new domestic
partnership
new text endand is receiving benefits under subdivision 6, 7, or 8 shall continue to be
eligible to receive weekly benefits for the remaining period that the spousenew text begin or domestic
partner
new text end is entitled to receive benefits pursuant to this section.

Sec. 13.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 10, is amended to read:


Subd. 10.

Allocation of compensation.

In all cases where compensation is payable
to the surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end for the benefit of the surviving spousenew text begin or
domestic partner
new text end and dependent children, the commissioner, compensation judge, or
Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals or district court in cases upon appeal shall
determine what portion of the compensation applies for the benefit of dependent children
and may order that portion paid to a guardian. This subdivision shall not be construed
to increase the combined total of weekly government survivor benefits and workers'
compensation beyond the limitation established in subdivision 21.

Sec. 14.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 14, is amended to read:


Subd. 14.

Parents.

If the deceased employee leave no surviving spousenew text begin or domestic
partner
new text end or child entitled to any payment under this chapter, but leaves both parents wholly
dependent on deceased, there shall be paid to such parents jointly 45 percent of the weekly
wage at the time of the injury of the deceased. In case of the death of either of the wholly
dependent parents the survivor shall receive 35 percent of the weekly wage thereafter. If
the deceased employee leave one parent wholly dependent on the deceased, there shall
be paid to such parent 35 percent of the weekly wage at the time of the injury of the
deceased employee. The compensation payments under this section shall not exceed the
actual contributions made by the deceased employee to the support of the employee's
parents for a reasonable time immediately prior to the injury which caused the death of
the deceased employee.

Sec. 15.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 15, is amended to read:


Subd. 15.

Remote dependents.

If the deceased employee leaves no surviving
spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end or child or parent entitled to any payment under this chapter,
but leaves a grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, mother-in-law, or father-in-law
wholly dependent on the employee for support, there shall be paid to such dependent, if
but one, 30 percent of the weekly wage at the time of injury of the deceased, or if more
than one, 35 percent of the weekly wage at the time of the injury of the deceased, divided
among them share and share alike.

Sec. 16.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.111, subdivision 21, is amended to read:


Subd. 21.

Death, benefits; coordination with governmental survivor benefits.

The following provision shall apply to any dependent entitled to receive weekly
compensation benefits under this section as the result of the death of an employee, and who
is also receiving or entitled to receive benefits under any government survivor program:

The combined total of weekly government survivor benefits and workers'
compensation death benefits provided under this section shall not exceed 100 percent of
the weekly wage being earned by the deceased employee at the time of the injury causing
death; provided, however, that no state workers' compensation death benefit shall be
paid for any week in which the survivor benefits paid under the federal program, by
themselves, exceed 100 percent of such weekly wage provided, however, the workers'
compensation benefits payable to a dependent surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end shall
not be reduced on account of any governmental survivor benefits payable to decedent's
children if the support of the children is not the responsibility of the dependent surviving
spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end.

For the purposes of this subdivision "dependent" means dependent surviving spousenew text begin
or domestic partner
new text end together with all dependent children and any other dependents. For
the purposes of this subdivision, mother's or father's insurance benefits received pursuant
to United States Code, title 42, section 402(g), are benefits under a government survivor
program.

Sec. 17.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 176.191, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Program payments.

If the employee's medical expenses for a personal
injury are paid pursuant to any program administered by the commissioner of human
services, or if the employee or spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end or dependents living with
the employee receive subsistence or other payments pursuant to such a program, and it
is subsequently determined that the injury is compensable pursuant to this chapter, the
workers' compensation insurer shall reimburse the commissioner of human services for
the payments made, including interest at a rate of 12 percent a year.

Amounts paid to an injured employee or spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end or dependents
living with the employee pursuant to such a program and attributable to the personal injury
shall be deducted from any settlement or award of compensation or benefits under this
chapter, including, but not limited to, temporary and permanent disability benefits.

The insurer shall attempt, with due diligence, to ascertain whether payments have
been made to an injured employee pursuant to such a program prior to any settlement or
issuance of a binding award and shall notify the Department of Human Services, Benefit
Recovery Section, when such payments have been made. An employee who has received
public assistance payments shall notify the Department of Human Services, Benefit
Recovery Section, of its potential intervention claim prior to making or settling a claim
for benefits under this chapter. Notice served on local human services agencies is not
sufficient to meet the notification requirement in this subdivision.

Sec. 18.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 181.58, is amended to read:


181.58 SURVIVING SPOUSE new text beginOR DOMESTIC PARTNER new text endPAID WAGES
DUE.

For the purposes of this section the word "employer" includes every person, firm,
partnership, corporation, the state of Minnesota, all political subdivisions, and all
municipal corporations.new text begin "Domestic partners" has the meaning given in section 176.011,
subdivision 8b.
new text end

If, at the time of the death of any person, an employer is indebted to the person for
work, labor, or services performed, and no personal representative of the person's estate
has been appointed, such employer shall, upon the request of the surviving spousenew text begin or
domestic partner
new text end, forthwith pay this indebtedness, in such an amount as may be due, not
exceeding the sum of $10,000, to the surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end. The employer
may in the same manner provide for payment to the surviving spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end
of accumulated credits under the vacation or overtime plan or system maintained by the
employer. The employer shall require proof of claimant's relationship to decedent by
affidavit, and require claimant to acknowledge receipt of such payment in writing. Any
payments made by the employer pursuant to the provisions of this section shall operate
as a full and complete discharge of the employer's indebtedness to the extent of the
payment, and no employer shall thereafter be liable therefor to the decedent's estate or
the decedent's personal representative thereafter appointed. Any amounts so received by
a spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end shall be considered in diminution of the allowance to the
spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end under section 524.2-403.

Sec. 19.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 181.947, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Definitions.

(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this
section.

(b) "Active service" has the meaning given in section 190.05, subdivision 5.

new text begin (c) "Domestic partners" has the meaning given in section 176.011, subdivision 8b.
new text end

deleted text begin (c)deleted text end new text begin(d) new text end"Employee" means a person, independent contractor, or person working for
an independent contractor who performs services for compensation, in whatever form, for
an employer.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text end new text begin(e) new text end"Employer" means a person or entity located or doing business in this state
and having one or more employees, and includes the state and all political or other
governmental subdivisions of the state.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text end new text begin(f) new text end"Immediate family member" means a person's parent, child, grandparents,
siblings, or spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end.

Sec. 20.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 181.948, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Definitions.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms
have the meanings given in this subdivision.

(b) "Active service" has the meaning given in section 190.05, subdivision 5.

new text begin (c) "Domestic partner" has the meaning given in section 176.011, subdivision 8b.
new text end

deleted text begin (c)deleted text end new text begin(d) new text end"Employee" means a person who performs services for compensation, in
whatever form, for an employer. Employee does not include an independent contractor.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text end new text begin(e) new text end"Employer" means a person or entity located or doing business in this state
and having one or more employees, and includes the state and all political or other
governmental subdivisions of the state.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text end new text begin(f) new text end"Immediate family member" means a person's grandparent, parent, legal
guardian, sibling, child, grandchild, spousenew text begin or domestic partnernew text end, fiance, or fiancee.