Minnesota 2024 Legislative Session: The Rest of the Story

Last week we discussed the pending changes to the state’s Earned Sick and Safe Time law, but there were other changes that impact employers state-wide.  Here’s a quick run-down of those changes:

  • The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) was amended to expand its coverage.
    • The definition of “disabled person” under the Act now includes individuals with “an impairment that is episodic or in remission and would materially limit a major life activity when active.”
    • The definition of “familial status” now includes “residing with and caring for one or more individuals who lack the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care because the individual or individuals are unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions.”
    • Finally, the MHRA’s “ministerial exception” was clarified to state that the exception does not apply to “secular business activities engaged in by the religious association” which are “unrelated to the religious and educational purposes for which it is organized.” Therefore, religious employers will not be allowed to favor, in hiring, those who are of the same religion for non-religious occupations.
  • Effective July 1, 2024, service providers may not “restrict, restrain, or prohibit in any way a customer from directly or indirectly soliciting or hiring an employee of a service provider.” Therefore, if you’re party to a contract that restricts customers from soliciting the services of your employee or an independent contractor, that portion of the contract is void. The law requires that if you have a provision such as this in your contracts, you are required to inform your employees that the provision is null and void.
  • Effective January 1, 2025, Minnesota employers that employ 30 or more workers at one or more locations in Minnesota will be required to include in each posting for each job opening the starting salary range for the position. In addition, the employer must include “a general description of all of the benefits and other compensation, including but not limited to any health or retirement benefits,” for the job.  Employers who don’t post a salary range must instead “list a fixed pay rate.”
  • Effective July 1, 2024, employers will be penalized for worker misclassification. This can include the failure to correctly classify employees, failure to report or disclose to any person or government agency who is an employee when required to do so, and requiring or requesting employees to enter into agreements or complete any document that misrepresents the employee’s status as an independent contractor. Employers can be fined up to $10,000 for each misclassification.
  • While we still have until January 1, 2026 for the Paid Family and Medical Leave law to take effect, the law has already been amended in several ways:
    • A “typical workweek” is now defined as “the average number of hours worked per week by an employee within the last two quarters prior to the effective of application.”
    • The act provides an “initial paid week”, which must be paid retroactively after applicants meet the required seven-day qualifying event period, and must be included in the first benefit payment to the applicant.
    • The act now includes the children of domestic partners and children to whom the applicant is a “de facto custodian.”
    • The law now allows for intermittent leave to be taken in increments consistent with employers’ policies accounting for other forms of leave, “so long as such employer’s policy permits a minimum increment of at most one calendar day of intermittent leave.” Also, applicants are not allowed to apply for intermittent leave benefits until they have built up eight hours of leave time for an issue within 30 days.

While nothing included here should be too burdensome on employers, it is important that they either implement these changes right away, or prepare to implement them when they are effective.  If you, or your organization, need assistance in adapting to the new laws, contact Wiley Reber Law, for legal advice that works.