New Equal Pay Certificates Required for Contracting with Minnesota Agencies

Effective August 1, 2014, businesses will be required to obtain an Equal Pay Certificate before contracting with a department or agency of Minnesota, the Metropolitan Counsel, or most other metropolitan agencies. The law will apply to businesses that execute contracts in excess of $500,000 and have 40 or more full-time employees in Minnesota or in any other state where it has a principle place of business.

Obtaining a certificate requires submitting to the commissioner (with a $150 filing fee) a statement, signed by the chairperson of the board or chief executive officer of the business, stating the following:

1. Compliance: “that the business is in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Minnesota Human Rights Act, and Minnesota Equal Pay for Equal Work Law;”

2. Compensation: “that the average compensation for its female employees is not consistently below the average compensation for its male employees within each of the major job categories in the EEO-1 employee information report for which an employee is expected to perform work under the contract, taking into account factors such as length of service, requirements of specific jobs, experience, skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions of the job, or other mitigating factors;”

3. Non-Discrimination: “that the business does not restrict employees of one sex to certain job classifications and makes retention and promotion decisions without regard to sex;”

4. Management: “that wage and benefit disparities are corrected when identified to ensure compliance with the laws cited in clause (1) and clause (2); and”

5. Oversight: “how often wages and benefits are evaluated to ensure compliance with the laws cited in clause (1) and clause (2).”

Minn. Stat. § 363A.44, Subd. 2(a)(1)-(5). Also required will be identification of the methodology used to determine what level of wages and benefits are paid to employees.

The Equal Pay Certificate is part of the Women’s Economic Security Act signed into law earlier this year. Also included in the Act were amendments to the Minnesota Human Rights Act as well as a host of other laws providing for pregnancy accommodations, parenting leave, requiring nursing mothers rooms, and the addition of “familial status” as a protected class under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Many of the laws under the Women’s Economic Security Act have been in effect since July 1, 2014. The Equal Pay Certificate, however, will only be required for solicitations made on or after August 1, 2014. The Equal Pay Certificate takes fifteen days to be issued, but employers should be updating employee handbooks and be training of supervisors immediately.

The Equal Pay Certificate requirements can be found here. For advice or assistance regarding the Equal Pay Certificate, its application, or compliance, please contact any of the government contracts attorneys at Eckland & Blando.