In 2014, the Minnesota Parenting Leave Act (MPLA) was amended by the Women’s Economic Security Act. Here’s what employers need to know about the MPLA:

The MPLA May Apply When the FMLA Does Not: Even if an employee is not eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the employee may still be eligible for a leave of absence for the birth or adoption of a child under the MPLA.

What Employers Are Subject to the MPLA? The MPLA applies to any employer that employs 21 or more employees at at least one site.  Minn. Stat. § 181.940, subd. 3.

What Employees Are Eligible For Parenting Leave Under the MPLA? To be eligible for leave under the MPLA, the employee must: (1) be employed for at least 12 months preceding the request; and (2) during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave, the employee must have worked an average number of hours per week equal to one-half the full-time equivalent position in the employee’s job classification, as defined by the employer’s policies, practices, or any applicable collective bargaining agreement.  Minn. Stat. § 181.940, subd. 2.

What Leave Is Required By the MPLA? Under the MPLA, an employer must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an eligible employee who is: (1) a biological or adoptive parent in conjunction with the birth or adoption of a child; or (2) a female employee for prenatal care, or incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related health conditions. The leave of absence must begin within 12 months after the birth or adoption of the child; however, if the child must remain in the hospital longer than the mother, the leave may begin within 12 months after the child leaves the hospital.  Minn. Stat. § 181.941, subd. 1.

How Much Notice Is Required? An employer may adopt reasonable policies governing the timing of requests for unpaid leave and may require an employee who plans to take a leave under the MPLA to give the employer reasonable notice of the date the leave shall commence and the estimated duration of the leave.  Minn. Stat. § 181.941, subd. 2.

Continued Insurance Coverage During Parenting Leave: While an employee is on parenting leave, the employer must continue to make available any insurance or health care coverage offered by the employer to the employee and his or her dependants during the leave of absence, but the employer is not required to pay the costs of the insurance or health care coverage during the leave of absence.  Minn. Stat. § 181.941, subd. 4.

No Retribution: An employer may not retaliate against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence under the MPLA. Minn. Stat. § 181.941, subd. 3.