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Minnesota Expands Pregnancy and Lactation Protections and Leave

26 Jun

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Update Applicable to:

All employers who have workers performing work in the state of Minnesota.

What happened?

On May 24, 2023, Minnesota Governor Walz signed Senate File 3035 that includes amendments to Minnesota’s nursing mothers and pregnancy accommodations law (Minn. Stat. § 181.939). The amendment is effective July 1, 2023.

What are the details?

The law that requires employers to provide employees with pregnancy and childbirth accommodations now applies to employers of all sizes, not just those with 15 or more employees. It’s also expanded as follows:

  • Employees who take a leave of absence as an accommodation are entitled to the same or an equivalent position upon their return to work. They’re also entitled to automatic pay raises that occur during the leave and must retain any benefits and seniority as if they had no break in service.
  • Employers can’t require medical documentation to support an employee’s request to take longer restroom, food, or water breaks, and aren’t allowed to deny these accommodations on the basis of undue hardship.
  • Temporary leaves of absence and work schedule or job assignment modifications are added as examples of potential reasonable accommodations. Employers should consider these options.

Lactation Rights

Minnesota’s law regarding nursing mothers, which already applied to employers of all sizes, is expanded to cover any lactating employee (not just “mothers”), and is broadened as follows:

  • Lactation breaks will no longer be time-restricted to the first 12 months after the child’s birth.
  • Lactation breaks can’t be required to run concurrently with any other break time the employee would usually receive.
  • Employers aren’t allowed to deny lactation breaks based on operational needs.
  • Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to provide a lactation space that is clean, private, and secure.

Notice


Employers need to inform employees of their pregnancy accommodation and lactation rights upon hire and when an employee asks about parental leave. Notice must be provided in English and the employee’s primary language and must also be included in an employee handbook. The state has been charged with creating sample language, but we don’t know when it will be released.

Minnesota’s Pregnancy and Parenting Leave law, which provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy and new child bonding, is expanded to cover employers of all sizes and all employees.

This change also expands coverage for two other related laws as follows:

  • Minnesota’s School Conference and Activities Leave law, which provides up to 16 hours of unpaid leave for employees to attend their child’s school-related activities, now covers all employees.
  • Minnesota’s kin care law, which allows employees to use any sick leave they may have to care for relatives, is expanded to cover employers of all sizes and all employees.

For more information, please see the links below:

Official Employee Notice

Law Firm Article

Official DOLI Page

Pregnancy and Parental Rights DOLI Video

Brochure for Employees (not a requirement)

What do employers need to do?

Employers will need to create or update their lactation and pregnancy accommodation policies to be compliant as well as ensuring that lactation spaces provided are clean, private, and secure. Employers should include a lactation and pregnancy accommodation notice in new hire packets and their employee handbook. Employers should also add pregnancy and parental leave, school-related leave, and sick leave policies to their handbook, or, if they are already present, then they should be reviewed to ensure they satisfy the law’s new coverage requirements.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Minnesota PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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