Minnesota law provides protections for expectant and new parents in the workplace. One such law is the Women’s Economic Security Act (“WESA”). Last year, Governor Tim Walz signed legislation that expanded some of the protections included in WESA. On January 1, 2022, these new protections went into effect.
Employers must now provide nursing mothers with “reasonable break times each day” for expressing breast milk for one year following the birth of your child. Further, employers can’t reduce your compensation if you use these breaks. In other words, the law requires that you receive paid break time to express breast milk.
Additionally, your employer must make a reasonable effort to provide you with a private space with an electrical outlet, that isn’t a restroom, to express breast milk. Your employer can’t retaliate against you for asking for or using these breaks.
The law also requires that employers that have 15 or more employees give pregnant employees reasonable accommodations for health conditions related to your pregnancy. Additionally, your employer must allow you to have more frequent restroom, food and water breaks, seating, and limits on lifting over 20 pounds if you are pregnant. However, an employer can’t require you to accept an accommodation for your pregnancy nor can your employer require that you take a leave of absence.