relating to state government; providing for the Women's Economic Security Act; requiring equal pay certificates of compliance; modifying workforce development provisions; creating women and high-wage, high-demand, nontraditional jobs grant program; modifying eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits; offering women entrepreneurs business development grants; requiring a report on a potential state-administered retirement savings plan; modifying parenting leave, sick leave, and pregnancy accommodations; providing employment protections; providing wage disclosure protection; appropriating money;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2012, sections 13.552, by adding a subdivision; 181.939; 181.940, subdivision 2; 181.941; 181.943; 181.9435, subdivision 1; 181.944; 268.095, subdivisions 1, 6; 363A.08, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4; Minnesota Statutes 2013 Supplement, sections 116L.665, subdivision 2; 177.27, subdivision 4; 181.9413; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 116L; 181; 363A.
WOMEN'S ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT
The governor's Workforce Development Council is composed of 31 members appointed by the governor. The members may be removed pursuant to section 15.059. In selecting the representatives of the council, the governor shall ensure that 50 percent of the members come from nominations provided by local workforce councils. Local education representatives shall come from nominations provided by local education to employment partnerships. The 31 members shall represent the following sectors:
(a) State agencies: the following individuals shall serve on the council:
(1) commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development;
(2) commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education; and
(3) commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
(b) Business and industry: six individuals shall represent the business and industry sectors of Minnesota.
(c) Organized labor: six individuals shall represent labor organizations of Minnesota.
(d) Community-based organizations: four individuals shall represent community-based organizations of Minnesota. Community-based organizations are defined by the Workforce Investment Act as private nonprofit organizations that are representative of communities or significant segments of communities and that have demonstrated expertise and effectiveness in the field of workforce investment and may include entities that provide job training services, serve youth, serve individuals with disabilities, serve displaced homemakers, union-related organizations, employer-related nonprofit organizations, and organizations serving nonreservation Indians and tribal governments.
(e) Education: six individuals shall represent the education sector of Minnesota as follows:
(1) one individual shall represent local public secondary education;
(2) one individual shall have expertise in design and implementation of school-based service-learning;
(3) one individual shall represent leadership of the University of Minnesota;
(4) one individual shall represent secondary/postsecondary vocational institutions;
(5) the chancellor of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities; and
(6) one individual shall have expertise in agricultural education.
(f) Other: two individuals shall represent other constituencies including:
(1) units of local government; and
(2) applicable state or local programs.
The speaker and the minority leader of the house of representatives shall each appoint a representative to serve as an ex officio member of the council. The majority and minority leaders of the senate shall each appoint a senator to serve as an ex officio member of the council.
The governor shall appoint one individual representing public libraries and one individual representing adult basic education programs to serve as a nonvoting advisor to the council.
(g) Appointment: each member shall be appointed for a term of three years from the first day of January or July immediately following their appointment. Elected officials shall forfeit their appointment if they cease to serve in elected office.
(h) Members of the council are compensated as provided in section 15.059, subdivision 3.
An applicant who quit employment is ineligible for all unemployment benefits according to subdivision 10 except when:
(1) the applicant quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the employer as defined in subdivision 3;
(2) the applicant quit the employment to accept other covered employment that provided substantially better terms and conditions of employment, but the applicant did not work long enough at the second employment to have sufficient subsequent earnings to satisfy the period of ineligibility that would otherwise be imposed under subdivision 10 for quitting the first employment;
(3) the applicant quit the employment within 30 calendar days of beginning the employment because the employment was unsuitable for the applicant;
(4) the employment was unsuitable for the applicant and the applicant quit to enter reemployment assistance training;
(5) the employment was part time and the applicant also had full-time employment in the base period, from which full-time employment the applicant separated because of reasons for which the applicant was held not to be ineligible, and the wage credits from the full-time employment are sufficient to meet the minimum requirements to establish a benefit account under section 268.07;
(6) the applicant quit because the employer notified the applicant that the applicant was going to be laid off because of lack of work within 30 calendar days. An applicant who quit employment within 30 calendar days of a notified date of layoff because of lack of work is ineligible for unemployment benefits through the end of the week that includes the scheduled date of layoff;
(7) the applicant quit the employment (i) because the applicant's serious illness or injury made it medically necessary that the applicant quit; or (ii) in order to provide necessary care because of the illness, injury, or disability of an immediate family member of the applicant. This exception only applies if the applicant informs the employer of the medical problem and requests accommodation and no reasonable accommodation is made available.
If the applicant's serious illness is chemical dependency, this exception does not apply if the applicant was previously diagnosed as chemically dependent or had treatment for chemical dependency, and since that diagnosis or treatment has failed to make consistent efforts to control the chemical dependency.
This exception raises an issue of the applicant's being available for suitable employment under section 268.085, subdivision 1, that the commissioner must determine;
(8) the applicant's loss of child care for the applicant's minor child caused the applicant to quit the employment, provided the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other child care and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no reasonable accommodation is available.
This exception raises an issue of the applicant's being available for suitable employment under section 268.085, subdivision 1, that the commissioner must determine;
(9) domestic abuse of the applicant or an immediate family member of the applicant, necessitated the applicant's quitting the employment. Domestic abuse must be shown by one or more of the following:
(i) a district court order for protection or other documentation of equitable relief
issued by a court;
(ii) a police record documenting the domestic abuse
(iii) documentation that the perpetrator of the domestic abuse
has been convicted of the offense
of domestic abuse
(iv) medical documentation of domestic abuse
(v) written statement that the applicant or an immediate family member of the
applicant is a victim of domestic abuse,
provided by a social
worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, attorney at law, or other professional who
has assisted the applicant in dealing with the domestic abuse
Domestic abuse for purposes of this clause is defined under section 518B.01; or
(10) the applicant quit in order to relocate to accompany a spouse whose job location changed making it impractical for the applicant to commute.
Employment misconduct defined.
(a) Employment misconduct means any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job that displays clearly:
(1) a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee; or
(2) a substantial lack of concern for the employment.
(b) Regardless of paragraph (a), the following is not employment misconduct:
(1) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant's mental illness or impairment;
(2) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant's inefficiency or inadvertence;
(3) simple unsatisfactory conduct;
(4) conduct an average reasonable employee would have engaged in under the circumstances;
(5) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant's inability or incapacity;
(6) good faith errors in judgment if judgment was required;
(7) absence because of illness or injury of the applicant, with proper notice to the employer;
(8) absence, with proper notice to the employer, in order to provide necessary care because of the illness, injury, or disability of an immediate family member of the applicant;
(9) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant's chemical dependency, unless the applicant was previously diagnosed chemically dependent or had treatment for chemical dependency, and since that diagnosis or treatment has failed to make consistent efforts to control the chemical dependency; or
(10) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant, or an immediate family member of the applicant, being a victim of domestic abuse as defined under section 518B.01. Domestic abuse must be shown as provided for in subdivision 1, clause (9).
(c) Regardless of paragraph (b), clause (9), conduct in violation of sections 169A.20, 169A.31, or 169A.50 to 169A.53 that interferes with or adversely affects the employment is employment misconduct.
(d) If the conduct for which the applicant was discharged involved only a single incident, that is an important fact that must be considered in deciding whether the conduct rises to the level of employment misconduct under paragraph (a). This paragraph does not require that a determination under section 268.101 or decision under section 268.105 contain a specific acknowledgment or explanation that this paragraph was considered.
(e) The definition of employment misconduct provided by this subdivision is exclusive and no other definition applies.
LABOR STANDARDS AND WAGES
"Employee" means a person who performs services for hire for an employer from whom a leave is requested under sections 181.940 to 181.944 for:
(1) at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the request; and
(2) for an average number of hours per week equal to one-half the full-time equivalent position in the employee's job classification as defined by the employer's personnel policies or practices or pursuant to the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement, during those 12 months.
Employee includes all individuals employed at any site owned or operated by the employer but does not include an independent contractor.
181.941 PARENTING LEAVE.
Six-week leave; birth or adoption.
An employer must grant an unpaid leave of absence to an employee who is a natural or adoptive parent in conjunction with the birth or adoption of a child. The length of the leave shall be determined by the employee, but may not exceed six weeks, unless agreed to by the employer.
Start of leave.
The leave shall begin at a time requested by the employee. The employer may adopt reasonable policies governing the timing of requests for unpaid leave. the leave may begin not more than six weeks after the birth or adoption; except that, in the case where the child must remain in the hospital longer than the mother, the leave may not begin more than six weeks after the child leaves the hospital.
No employer retribution.
An employer shall not retaliate against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence as provided by this section.
The employer must continue to make coverage available to the employee while on leave of absence under any group insurance policy, group subscriber contract, or health care plan for the employee and any dependents. Nothing in this section requires the employer to pay the costs of the insurance or health care while the employee is on leave of absence.
181.9413 SICK LEAVE BENEFITS; CARE OF RELATIVES.
(a) 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, as defined in section 181.940, subdivision 4, 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. This section applies only to personal sick leave benefits payable to the employee from the employer's general assets.
An employer may limit the use of personal sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to an illness of or injury to the employee's adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent to no less than 160 hours in any 12-month period. This paragraph does not apply to absences due to the illness or injury of a child, as defined in section 181.940, subdivision 4.
(c) For purposes of this section, "personal sick leave benefits" means time accrued and available to an employee to be used as a result of absence from work due to personal illness or injury, but does not include short-term or long-term disability or other salary continuation benefits.
(d) For the purpose of this section, "child" includes a stepchild and a biological, adopted, and foster child.
(e) This section does not prevent an employer from providing greater sick leave benefits than are provided for under this section.
181.943 RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LEAVE.
(a) The length of parental leave provided under section 181.941 may be reduced by any period of paid parental or disability leave, but not accrued sick leave, provided by the employer, so that the total leave does not exceed six weeks, unless agreed to by the employer.
(b) Nothing in sections 181.940 to 181.943 prevents any employer from providing leave benefits in addition to those provided in sections 181.940 to 181.944 or otherwise affects an employee's rights with respect to any other employment benefit.
The commissioner may issue an order requiring an employer to comply with sections 177.21 to 177.435, 181.02, 181.03, 181.031, 181.032, 181.101, 181.11, 181.12, 181.13, 181.14, 181.145, 181.15, 181.275, subdivision 2a, 181.722, and 181.79, or with any rule promulgated under section 177.28. The commissioner shall issue an order requiring an employer to comply with sections 177.41 to 177.435 if the violation is repeated. For purposes of this subdivision only, a violation is repeated if at any time during the two years that preceded the date of violation, the commissioner issued an order to the employer for violation of sections 177.41 to 177.435 and the order is final or the commissioner and the employer have entered into a settlement agreement that required the employer to pay back wages that were required by sections 177.41 to 177.435. The department shall serve the order upon the employer or the employer's authorized representative in person or by certified mail at the employer's place of business. An employer who wishes to contest the order must file written notice of objection to the order with the commissioner within 15 calendar days after being served with the order. A contested case proceeding must then be held in accordance with sections 14.57 to 14.69. If, within 15 calendar days after being served with the order, the employer fails to file a written notice of objection with the commissioner, the order becomes a final order of the commissioner.
181.939 NURSING MOTHERS.
An employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The break time must, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer is not required to provide break time under this section if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.
The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The employer would be held harmless if reasonable effort has been made.
For the purposes of this section, "employer" means a person or entity that employs one or more employees and includes the state and its political subdivisions.
The Division of Labor Standards and Apprenticeship shall receive complaints of employees against employers relating to sections 181.940 to 181.9436 and investigate informally whether an employer may be in violation of sections 181.940 to 181.9436. The division shall attempt to resolve employee complaints by informing employees and employers of the provisions of the law and directing employers to comply with the law.
181.944 INDIVIDUAL REMEDIES.
In addition to any other remedies provided by law, a person injured by a violation of sections 181.940 to 181.943 may bring a civil action to recover any and all damages recoverable at law, together with costs and disbursements, including reasonable attorney's fees, and may receive injunctive and other equitable relief as determined by a court.
Except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, it is an unfair employment practice for a labor organization, because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or age:
(1) to deny full and equal membership rights to a person seeking membership or to a member;
(2) to expel a member from membership;
(3) to discriminate against a person seeking membership or a member with respect to hiring, apprenticeship, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities, or privileges of employment; or
(4) to fail to classify properly, or refer for employment or otherwise to discriminate against a person or member.
Except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, it is an unfair employment practice for an employer, because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, membership or activity in a local commission, disability, sexual orientation, or age to:
(1) refuse to hire or to maintain a system of employment which unreasonably excludes a person seeking employment; or
(2) discharge an employee; or
(3) discriminate against a person with respect to hiring, tenure, compensation, terms, upgrading, conditions, facilities, or privileges of employment.
Except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, it is an unfair employment practice for an employment agency, because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or age to:
(1) refuse or fail to accept, register, classify properly, or refer for employment or otherwise to discriminate against a person; or
(2) comply with a request from an employer for referral of applicants for employment if the request indicates directly or indirectly that the employer fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Employer, employment agency, or labor organization.
(a) Except when based on a bona fide occupational qualification, it is an unfair employment practice for an employer, employment agency, or labor organization, before a person is employed by an employer or admitted to membership in a labor organization, to:
(1) require or request the person to furnish information that pertains to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or age; or, subject to section 363A.20, to require or request a person to undergo physical examination; unless for the sole and exclusive purpose of national security, information pertaining to national origin is required by the United States, this state or a political subdivision or agency of the United States or this state, or for the sole and exclusive purpose of compliance with the Public Contracts Act or any rule, regulation, or laws of the United States or of this state requiring the information or examination. A law enforcement agency may, after notifying an applicant for a peace officer or part-time peace officer position that the law enforcement agency is commencing the background investigation on the applicant, request the applicant's date of birth, gender, and race on a separate form for the sole and exclusive purpose of conducting a criminal history check, a driver's license check, and fingerprint criminal history inquiry. The form shall include a statement indicating why the data is being collected and what its limited use will be. No document which has date of birth, gender, or race information will be included in the information given to or available to any person who is involved in selecting the person or persons employed other than the background investigator. No person may act both as background investigator and be involved in the selection of an employee except that the background investigator's report about background may be used in that selection as long as no direct or indirect references are made to the applicant's race, age, or gender; or
(2) seek and obtain for purposes of making a job decision, information from any source that pertains to the person's race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or age, unless for the sole and exclusive purpose of compliance with the Public Contracts Act or any rule, regulation, or laws of the United States or of this state requiring the information; or
(3) cause to be printed or published a notice or advertisement that relates to employment or membership and discloses a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, or age.
(b) Any individual who is required to provide information that is prohibited by this subdivision is an aggrieved party under sections 363A.06, subdivision 4, and 363A.28, subdivisions 1 to 9.