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Benefits of Pregnant Women Working

Accommodation of New Parents and Pregnant Workers
The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act requires employers with twenty-one or more workers to offer reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. “Workers” in this context refers to those employees who have worked for twelve consecutive months on a full-time or half-time schedule. Employers are required to provide additional food, water, and restroom breaks for pregnant workers. The employer is also prohibited from denying a pregnant worker any seating-related changes or asking them to lift items weighing over twenty pounds. In some cases, employers may be required to transfer pregnant women to job positions that are less stressful or strenuous. However, the provision does not require the employer to create a new position or promote a pregnant employee.

The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act also adds to the accommodations provided to nursing mothers. Although previously there was a law requiring employers to offer a space to nursing mothers where they can express breast milk, the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act requires employers to offer nursing mothers a private room, other than a toilet stall or a bathroom, that is free from intrusion from intrusions from the public or coworkers, features an electric outlet, and is shielded from view. A civil lawsuit may be brought against an employer who retaliates against workers for asserting this provision, as well as an employer who violates this provision. In such a scenario, an employer may be liable for a workers’ back pay, attorneys’ fee, court costs, and actual damages. This provision applies to all employers.

Additional Parenting and Pregnancy Leave
The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act expanded the Minnesota law by providing workers with additional parenting and pregnancy leave. The provision enables certain employees to be granted twelve weeks of unpaid leave. Employees entitled to this provision include an adoptive or biological parent in conjunction with the adoption or birth of a child, and a female worker for prenatal care, or incapacity caused by childbirth pregnancy, or other pregnancy-related conditions. This provision applies to employers with twenty-one or more workers at one site, and workers who have been employed by that employer for at least twelve months. In this case, the twelve months do not necessarily need to be consecutive. Furthermore, the required leave may be decreased by any period of vacation or paid leave, in order that the total leave required is not more than 12 weeks.

Additional Safety leave and Sick Leave
Before the introduction of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act, Minnesota law required employers to allow their workers to use the number of accrued sick days to care for their children, parents, step-parents, grandparents, spouses, and siblings. The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act expanded this provision to include grandchildren, fathers-in-law, and mothers-in-law. Minnesota employers with twenty-one employees or more are required to abide by this provision. The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act also allows workers to substitute their sick leave for a safety leave. In this context, safety leave refers to leave for the purpose of receiving or providing assistance due to stalking, sexual assault, or domestic abuse.…

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What is the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act?

The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act, also known as WESA, was introduced on 1st May, 2014 as a measure to increase economic equality in Minnesota. The Women’s Security act passed the Senate and Minnesota House with wide bipartisan support. The law expanded certain rights among employees and also created obligations for firms that employ Minnesota residents. The Act combined 9 legislation that are geared toward leveling the playing field in the workplace and creating better working conditions for women.

The Role of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act
The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act seeks to eliminate the gap in gender pay by allowing workers to disclose their personal earnings and by establishing a policy of equal pay among businesses that meet certain standards. It raised the minimum wage in Minnesota to $9.50, consequently raising the earnings of some women and their households. The Act also increased early learning scholarship funding to provide additional access to affordable and high-quality childcare. This was a crucial move because the quality of early education programs significantly influences a child’s life. The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act also made some changes to the Minnesota Parental Leave Act to allow a more flexible sick leave policy for women and mothers. The Act is keen on increasing the support for mothers and ensuring that there is no workplace discrimination against women in terms of caregiver status. It offers more protection to domestic violence victims through unemployment insurance eligibility and job stability provisions. Through the workforce development program of the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employment Development, the Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act offers various incentives to encourage women to seek employment in high-paying, and non-traditional jobs. The Act also supports women-owned businesses through a project for businesswomen to create companies in technology-related and traditionally male-dominated industries. The Act established the Minnesota Retirement Savings Plan and updated the Medicaid spousal impoverished law to support older women in economic security, and allow employees in the small private sector without a retirement plan sponsored by their employer to put their savings in a state-managed program.

Right to Disclose Personal Earnings
The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act allows workers to disclose their personal earnings to other employers. Consequently, Employers in Minnesota cannot apply non-disclosure of wages as a requirement for employment. Employers can also not make employees sign any document that waives their right to disclose their personal earnings. The implication is that employers can’t take any adverse actions against workers who disclose their personal earnings or discuss another worker’s personal earnings that were voluntarily disclosed. Moreover, the Act requires employers to offer formal notice of their workers’ rights and remedies. A civil lawsuit may be brought against an employer who retaliates against workers for asserting their right to disclose personal earnings, or violates this provision. In such a scenario, an employer may be liable for a workers’ back pay, attorneys’ fee, court costs, and actual damages.

Protected Class
The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act expands the MHRA (Minnesota Human Rights Act by restricting employment discrimination based on the “family status” of a worker. Familial status refers to the condition of 1 or more underage people being domiciled with their legal guardian or parent(s), or the designee of the guardian or parent(s) with the written consent of the guardian or parent(s). This provision also applies to any pregnant person or one who is about to secure legal custody of a minor. All employers in Minnesota are required to abide by this provision.…