May 12, 2014 — The Minnesota Senate on Thursday approved a bill (HF 2536) that would expand parental leave and improve workplace protections for pregnant and breastfeeding women, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The measure now goes to Gov. Mark Dayton (D), who is expected to sign it into law.
The bill would expand from six weeks to 12 weeks the amount of leave guaranteed to Minnesota parents for pregnancy, birth or adoption.
Further, the bill would entitle pregnant women to reasonable workplace accommodations to ensure their well-being. In addition, workplaces would be required to have private space for women who are breastfeeding to pump milk.
In a provision aimed at preventing employers from bypassing women with children for promotions, the bill would add "familial status" to current laws that protect individuals against unfair employment practices.
Under the bill, companies with state contracts valued at $500,000 or more would be required to certify that they pay men and women similar salaries for similar positions.
Attempt To Stall Bill
The state Senate narrowly rejected a move that would have initiated more negotiations with the state House to clarify provisions that business groups said could provoke lawsuits.
Five Democrats and all Republicans backed the move, arguing that the familial status and equal pay provisions are unclear (Bakst, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8).