Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Development and Labor Funding bill, S.F. 3035, on May 24, 2023, bringing several important changes to Minnesota employment law. Along with investing funds to match federal investments, this bill introduces a range of measures to protect and empower workers. One of the key changes is the protection of employees' right to discuss their own wages. Employers are now prohibited from taking adverse action against employees for exercising this right, and specific types of adverse actions are clearly defined. Additionally, noncompete agreements signed after July 1, 2023, are now banned between employers and employees.
The bill also prioritizes the well-being of pregnant and nursing workers by providing additional protections and enhancing pregnancy accommodation provisions. It further ensures that mandatory employer-sponsored meetings and communications are prevented, allowing employees more autonomy in their work lives.
Another significant development is the introduction of state-wide paid sick and safe time leave, offering employees the necessary support to take care of their health and well-being. Additionally, the bill requires employers to display a veterans' benefits and services poster, ensuring that veterans have access to the resources they deserve.
This bill builds upon the existing wage non-disclosure agreement prohibition (WESA) established in Stat. §181.172, effective since July 1, 2014. WESA already prohibited employers from requiring employees to keep their wages confidential or sign waivers that restrict their right to disclose wages. Now, the new amendment further strengthens employee protections by explicitly stating that "employers cannot discharge, discipline, penalize, interfere with, threaten, restrain, coerce, retaliate, or discriminate" against employees who assert their rights or seek remedies under this section.
These changes mark a significant step forward in creating a fair and equitable employment landscape in Minnesota, where workers' rights are protected, and their well-being is prioritized. Employers in Minnesota should exercise caution when dealing with employees' wage discussions.