The 2013 Minnesota State Legislature passed into law several potentially high-impact changes that may affect business climate and, consequently, employer hiring. The changes include the expansion of sales taxes on electronics and telecommunications, increases on high earner “top tier” income tax, a very limited bonding bill, and significant increases in certain spending. As to specific employment legislation, there were several changes:
- The “Ban the Box” fair hiring law passed;
- Childcare professionals and personal care assistants whose funding source is the state can now unionize under the State union law (many predict a legal challenge to the “forced unionization” aspects of the law);
- Certain employers such as schools, churches, and other organizations that work with minors may face the complications of the three-year window period for filing of otherwise expired sexual abuse claims (although the window period does not apply to vicarious liability and “respondeat superior” claims against the employer, which may significantly limit exposure);
- The State health insurance exchange was passed into law for 2014 in conjunction with the U.S. Affordable Care Act; and
- The same-sex marriage law will expand marital-status discrimination protections to same-sex couples.
Sometimes what didn’t pass is noteworthy, as well. For example, the state minimum wage law did not change, and nursing staff ratios were rejected.
Takeaway: All in all, the 2013 legislative potpourri has a direct impact on employers by way of legislative changes to the State’s employment laws and an indirect impact by way of the potential positive or negative impact on the business climate of state revenue, spending increases, and the lack of a bonding bill. Minnesota Employer will look more closely at some of these topics in future posts. On to 2014!