Other New Laws That Will Impact Nurses

The 2023 session was a whirlwind of activity with many major legislative victories. Here is an overview of many of the new laws that passed, which will impact nurses across the state.  

Paid Family Medical Leave 

Nurses achieved a major victory when Minnesota passed one of the most comprehensive and progressive Paid Family and Medical Leave Acts in the country! Employees eligible for the program will be able to take leave starting January 1st, 2026.  The law includes: 

  • Up to 12 weeks of leave with partial wage replacement for medical leave (including pregnancy), so Minnesotans can take care of themselves or a loved one. 
  • Up to 12 weeks of leave with partial wage replacement for parental leave to bond with a new child.  
  • A progressive wage replacement at 55%-90% (average of 66%) of an employee’s salary and protections for their job and healthcare benefits.  
  • Creating a large statewide risk pool and equally sharing costs between employers and employees, with both contributing 35 cents per $100 of employee earnings. For a worker earning $1,000 a week this would mean a contribution of $3.50 per week.  

 Prescription Drug Affordability Board and prohibition against price gouging                   

The Commerce and Consumer Protection omnibus bill prohibits drug manufacturers from imposing excessive price increases on generic drugs sold in Minnesota and establishes a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that is empowered to investigate cost increases of prescription drugs, publish reports on pricing trends, and when appropriate, establish limits on the amount paid to purchase prescription drugs.  

Public Workers: Bargaining for Staffing Ratios, Card Check Neutrality, and PERB 

Public workers saw several wins during this legislative session. In addition to big wins for teachers and other unions, nurses and other public workers will benefit from some of these new laws, such as: 

  • “Staffing ratios” are now a mandatory subject of bargaining for all public workers. 
  • Public employers will now be subject to card check neutrality, meaning the employer must recognize the union as the official bargaining agent of the employees once a third-party verifies that a majority has signed membership cards (which can be signed electronically). 
  • The Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), a quasi-judicial board that was established in 2014, but was never fully funded until now, will adjudicate state and local public sector unfair labor practice (ULP) claims and should significantly help workers in these cases.  MNA hopes to be able to utilize this board to push for better contract compliance from hospital management. 

Stronger Labor Protections 

Due to strong Labor Chairs and Committees, the Legislature passed a strong Jobs and Economic Development that provides support for all Minnesota workers: 

  • Nearly every worker in Minnesota will receive access to earned sick and safe time when needing to recover from illness or care for a loved one (at least 1 hour accrued for every 30 hours worked). 
  • Captive audience meetings are banned, meaning employers are no longer able to force or coerce employees to sit through meetings designed to push anti-union or political rhetoric. 
  • Noncompete clauses are prohibited in employment contracts. 
  • Protections for lactating employees are expanded. 
  • Many employers, including all healthcare facilities, are required to establish ergonomics programs. 

Equity Laws 

  • Drivers Licenses for All: all Minnesotans regardless of immigration or citizenship status can get licenses allowing them to go to doctor appointments and their jobs without risk of being deported. 
  • Juneteenth is an official state holiday! 
  • The Crown Act: protects Minnesotans from being discriminated against due to their natural hair. 
  • Free school lunches: guarantees free lunch and breakfast to all Minnesota students, regardless of income requirements set by a federal program. It’s a move advocates say will reduce child hunger and ensure no kid falls through the cracks. 
  • Creation of Office for Missing and Murdered Black Women and Girls: will investigate cold cases and reopen suspicious cases, assist police agencies and community groups in active cases, and serve as a point of contact for those reluctant to talk to police. 
  • Minnesota is now a trans refuge state preventing out-of-state laws from interfering in the practice of gender-affirming health care. 
  • Conversion therapy is now banned! 
  • Banning forever chemicals: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in products are now banned. The legislation prohibits non-essential use of the substances in cookware, cosmetics, cleaning products , and more starting in 2025. The bill also includes funding to help clean up water contaminated with the chemicals and will phase out PFAS in firefighting foam. These chemicals are linked to a broad range of health problems including low birth weights and certain cancers.  

Fairer Tax System 

The Minnesota Tax Omnibus bill worked to cut taxes for lower-income Minnesotans while ensuring a fairer tax collection from those in higher-income tax brackets. A few highlights are: 

  • Expanded child tax credits: a proven mechanism to drastically reduce child poverty in the US 
  • Increased renter rebates and homeowner tax credits 
  • Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) discourages moving assets and profits to other countries with lower tax rates. 

Expanded Voter Rights  

  • Automatic voter registration: eligible Minnesotans will be registered to vote when getting or renewing a driver’s license 
  • Pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, so they’ll be registered to vote right when they turn 18 
  • Established a permanent absentee voter list, meaning those who regularly vote by mail every election will not have to request a new absentee ballot each year 
  • Voting rights restored to over 50,000 Minnesotans who were convicted of a felony but had not been allowed to vote despite having served their sentence.  

Workers’ Compensation Benefit Changes 

With the input from MNA and the AFL-CIO, there were changes made to the workers’ compensation benefit system to make the benefit more accessible and increase the payments. The main changes are: 

  • Streamlined and clarified the application process. 
  • Added a timeline for when an employer’s physician needs to produce a report to reduce application wait time 
  • Increased the permanent partial disability payment by approximately 40% for all beneficiaries. 
  • Requires the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry to conduct a study to improve the experience of employees with work-related post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health diagnoses.