Minnesota Governor Signs Women’s Economic Security Act

In a groundbreaking move, Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton signed the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) into law on Sunday. The WESA (HF 2536) aims to:

  • Provide equal pay for women.
  • Expand family leave by allowing parents to take 12 weeks (instead of the current six for pregnancy and parenting leave after a child’s birth or adoption.)
  • Allow reasonable accommodations for woman with health conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Prevent employers from discriminating against women with children by keeping them from promotions because of doubts about their dedication to their career over their family.

The bill breezed through the Minnesota Senate with a 43-24 vote with most lawmakers stating that this is a huge step for all workers; however, some lawmakers believe the Act will spark a rash of frivolous lawsuits and send a bad message to women by ”assuming that women can’t take care of themselves and need the government to assist them.”

Good News Travels Fast: Pregnancy Protection for Women

Similar legislation is catching on around the nation. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is requesting passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S.3565). Citing that women make up close to half of the workforce, and three-quarters of those women will be pregnant and employed at some time during their career.

Bottom Line for Minnesota

Minnesota estimates the new legislation will cost $2.7 million to administer initially and $900,000 in ongoing monitoring of equal pay requirements.

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