Women's Economic Security Act becomes law on Mother's Day - KMSP-TV

Women's Economic Security Act becomes law on Mother's Day

Posted: Updated:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Gov. Mark Dayton celebrated Mother's Day by signing a bill dubbed the Women's Economic Security Act into law on Sunday morning. The measure aims to provide equal pay for women and provide stronger workplace protections.

"When future generations look back, we will be able to tell them that we did something to make the lives of working women and working families better," Rep. Carly Melin said.

The Minnesota Senate passed the bill on a 51-14 vote in late April that aims to lessen the pay gap between men and women in the workforce. Currently, women in Minnesota earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts.

WHAT IT DOES

1. Increases the unpaid leave for a pregnancy from six weeks to 12 weeks to provide mothers more flexibility in caring for their children and not forcing them to quit their jobs if they need more time. The bill expands the allowable use of sick time to include caring for grandchildren or receiving assistance because of sexual assault, or domestic abuse.

2. Provides $500,000 in grant money to organizations such as Women Venture to help women in getting high-paying, nontraditional jobs.

3. Spends $25,000 to help women entering apprenticeship programs for high-paying trade jobs.

4. Sets up another $500,000 in grants for women owned businesses to help them expand.

NO DISCRIMINATION FOR PREGNANT WORKERS


Cassondra Williams was working as a paralegal in a growing law firm, but she told Fox 9 News everything changed the day she told her boss she was pregnant.

"It seemed like -- if I had other obligations that weren't there for work -- that it probably wasn't going to be the right fit for me," she reflected.

Now, the amount of unpaid time off has doubled and employers will be required to offer reasonable unpaid breaks for pregnant women, including time for new mothers to pump milk -- and that's a change Williams welcomes.

"My happy ending was that I was able to find great employers, and it's no longer an issue for me -- but it really will be for other working moms," she said.

STRONG SUPPORT FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS

Along with increasing flexibility for mothers the law also strengthens support for victims of domestic abuse by allowing them to use sick leave in order to cope with personal issues, including domestic assault and stalking.

"My hope for Minnesota and for the sake of everybody will be that 30 years from now, we won't have to go through this again -- that we'll look back and see that progress has been made as a result of this outstanding legislation," Dayton said.

READY FOR RETIREMENT?

On average, women have half as much money saved up for retirement as men do in Minnesota. That's why the law also requires the state to look into options for setting up retirement savings plans for employees that don't have them.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 50 favorite photos from the Minnesota State Fair

    50 favorite photos from the Minnesota State Fair

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:26:10 GMT
    MNFFA Association visits the Fox 9 booth with a Miracle of BirthMNFFA Association visits the Fox 9 booth with a Miracle of Birth
    The Great Minnesota Get-Together is back with its hottest starting day in 20 years, 28 new foods and thousands of memories to be captured in photographs.
    The Great Minnesota Get-Together is back with its hottest starting day in 20 years, 28 new foods and thousands of memories to be captured in photographs.
  • Search for Ty Hoffman called off after bank robbery in Blaine, Minn.

    Search for Ty Hoffman called off after bank robbery in Blaine, Minn.

    Monday, September 1 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 01:11:43 GMT
    Ramsey County sheriff's officials said the search for Ty Hoffman has "heated up" after a suspect in the robbery at TCF Bank in Blaine appeared to match his description on Sunday.
    Ramsey County sheriff's officials said the search for Ty Hoffman has "heated up" after a suspect in the robbery at TCF Bank in Blaine appeared to match his description on Sunday.
  • Happy 15th anniversary, Fox 9 Morning News!

    Happy 15th anniversary, Fox 9 Morning News!

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:38 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:38:48 GMT
    The Fox 9 Morning News is celebrating 15 years of history, 15 years of bloopers and 15 years of bringing you what you love.
    The Fox 9 Morning News is celebrating 15 years of history, 15 years of bloopers and 15 years of bringing you what you love.
Widgets Magazine
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices