2023 session outcomes: Workplace/staffing regulations
Restricting employer communication: Lawmakers passed a new law that prohibits employers from meeting or communicating with their employees on public policy. The “captive audience” law stipulates that communications must be “wholly voluntary” and not be political or religious in nature. There is a federal preemption of these laws, and they have been litigated in other states. Minnesota’s law is effective on August 1, 2023.
Expanding accommodations for pregnant and lactating employees: The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) will oversee expanded accommodations for pregnant employees including a temporary leave of absence, work schedule or job assignment modifications and more frequent or longer breaks. Lactating employees should now receive specific break times of their choice, lactation spaces, and notice of these accommodations must be given to employees in writing. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees, and in some cases fewer than 21 employees, will be newly subject to these statutes as existing small business exemptions were rescinded. This new law is already in effect.
Expanding Human Rights Act definitions: Minnesota’s Human Rights Act was updated to include banning salary history questions during the hiring process (effective January 1, 2024), including hair in the definition of race (already in effect) and changing definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity (effective as of July 1, 2023).
Requirements and penalties for workers in specific industries: There are new requirements and penalties regarding workers in warehouses, meat and poultry processing facilities, health care facilities and nursing homes, and refineries. The suite of new laws include a variety of requirements ranging from quota systems management processes (warehouses) and new workplace safety obligations (meat processing) to new labor standards boards (nursing homes) and unionized workforce thresholds (refineries). The law gives the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) compliance order authority to oversee enhanced workplace safety standards. These new laws take effect August 1, 2023 through January 1, 2024.
New ergonomics standards: New laws require employers in warehouses, health care facilities, nursing homes, and meat and poultry processing facilities (subject to varying employee headcount thresholds) to comply with new ergonomic standards, effective January 1, 2024.
Workers' compensation advisory council: The Minnesota Chamber was successful this year in preventing an unchecked benefits increase that would have resulted in a nearly 10% rate increase. The final legislation includes a number of system efficiencies to balance reasonably increased benefits for injured workers with controlled costs in the system. It also prevented a new presumption for PTSD by establishing a legislative study to improve outcomes for injured workers with work-related PTSD.
WATCH: 2023 Statewide Policy Tour discussion on workplace and staffing regulations
Featuring: Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Nicole Blissenbach
After a busy Session that caused a host of new regulations, the Chamber recorded this webinar with Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner, Nicole Blissenbach. This session delves into the intricacies of the recent transformations in labor laws, discussing multiple new policies that are of vital importance to employers. Offering invaluable knowledge to help stay compliant, the Minnesota Chamber equips businesses with necessary information to adapt and thrive in a changing labor landscape.
This on-demand webinar is for Minnesota Chamber members only. If you wish to become a member or have questions about membership in the Minnesota Chamber, click here.
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