Earned Sick and Safe Leave

Beginning January 1, 2024, employers with one or more employees will have to pay employees one hour of earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours the employee works, up to a maximum of 48 hours of earned sick and safe time per year. The rate of payment for sick and safe time must be the same as the hourly rate that is paid for working hours. The employee’s status of full-time, part-time, seasonal, etc. will not have any bearing on their ability to accrue sick and safe hours, as long as the employee works at least 80 hours in a year for that employer. Employees must be allowed to carry over accrued, but unused, sick and safe time into the following year, but it must not exceed 80 hours at any time, unless an employer agrees to a higher amount. If they so choose, employers do not have to allow employees to carry over their accrued hours so long as they provide the necessary amount of hours to meet the standard of the law, or exceed it, and those hours must be available to be used by the employee from the beginning of the year. For employees who are exempt from overtime and are salaried, they will accrue sick and safe hours based upon a 40 hour work week, for full-time employees, or the number of hours they typically work per week, if they are part-time. Sick and safe time will begin to accrue at the beginning of a person’s employment as probationary periods will not apply. The total number of earned sick and safe time hours accrued, as well as the number of sick and safe time hours used during the pay period, should be listed on the employee’s earnings statement provided at the end of each pay period. 

Employees will be able to use their sick and safe time for:

  • Their own physical and mental health needs, including preventative care; 
  • The care of a family member and their physical and mental health needs, including preventative care; 
  • Absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, or to obtain services or seek assistance related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; 
  • Weather related or public emergency related business closures;
  • Needing to care for a family member whose school or place of care has closed due to weather or other public emergency;
  • The employee’s inability to work or telework due to health concerns related to a potential transmission of a communicable illness related to a public emergency or because the employee is awaiting test results related to a diagnosis of a communicable disease related to a public health emergency because the employee has been exposed or the employee’s employer has requested it; and
  • When it is determined by a health care professional that the presence of an employee or family member of an employee would jeopardize the health of others in the community because of a communicable disease, whether or not the person has actually contracted the communicable disease. 

Employees may be required to give notice to their employers before they use their sick and safe time, if the need for use is foreseeable, but cannot require more than seven days advanced notice. Employers should have written policies concerning sick and safe time and should provide all employees with a copy of the policy. If an employee uses more than three of their sick and safe days consecutively, employers can require reasonable documentation that shows the safe and sick time is being used for one of the allowed reasons. Employees are not required to find a replacement worker to cover the hours in which they will be using their sick and safe time. 

Employers are allowed to have sick and safe time policies that exceed the minimum of 48 hours per year. If employers provide sick and safe time through a paid time off policy, they do not have to have to provide separate sick and safe time, so long as their paid time off policy meets or exceeds the standards and requirements of the sick and safe time laws. Employers will be allowed to establish policies in which employees may donate unused, accrued sick and safe time to another employee. Employers are also allowed to advance sick and safe time to employees before they have accrued the hours.

When an employee is terminated, resigns, retires, or otherwise separates from their employer, they are not entitled to a financial payout or reimbursement of their unused, sick and safe time hours. 

(Minn. Stat. 181.032, 181.9445-181.9448)


Accommodations for Lactating Employees and Pregnant Employees 

Accommodations for employees who are lactating will no longer be limited to only the first twelve months following the birth of the child. The break times used to express milk may run concurrently with break times provided by the employer, but do not have to. An employer must not reduce an employee’s compensation for time that is used for the purpose of expressing milk. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a clean, private, and secure room or location, that is close to the employee’s work area, and cannot be a bathroom or toilet stall. The area must be private and have access to an electrical outlet. 

Accommodations for employees who are pregnant will now include not only more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks, but also longer breaks, if needed. Reasonable accommodations for pregnant persons will also now include a temporary leave of absence and modifications in work schedule or job assignments. 

Employer must also inform employees of their rights regarding lactation and pregnancy accommodations at the time of their hire and when the employee inquires about or requests parental leave. (Minn. Stat 181.939)


Restrictive Franchise Agreements 

New law that already went into effect on May 24, 2023, prohibits franchisors from restricting, restraining, or forbidding in any way a franchisee from soliciting or hiring an employee of a franchisee of the same franchisor. Any provisions of an existing contract that violates this new law will be void and unenforceable. For this law, “employee” also includes an independent contractor.

Franchisors must either change existing franchise agreements or remove any restrictive employment terms within one year of the law becoming effective or they can sign a memorandum of understanding with each franchisee that acknowledges that those particular provisions in the existing contract are void and unenforceable. (Minn. Stat. 181.991)

Employee-Sponsored Meetings and Communications
Effective August 1, 2023, employers and their agents cannot threaten to or actually retaliate, discipline, discharge, penalize, or take adverse employment action against an employee because the employee has declined to attend or participate in an employer-sponsored meeting or to receive or listen to communications from the employer if the content of the communication is to express the religious or political opinion of the employer, their agent, representative, or designee of the employer. Employers are also prohibited from using any of those methods as a means of coercing the employee to attend or participate in the meetings or receive or listen to communications about the employer or their agent’s religious or political beliefs. (Minn. Stat. 181.531)

Minnesota Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board Act
Minnesota is the first state to attempt to set standards such as pay and benefits for the nursing home industry to combat the staffing crisis by creating and giving authority to the Nursing Home Workforce Standards Board. The board will have the power to set minimum labor standards, like a minimum wage, establish requirements for nursing home worker training, and adopt rules to appropriately protect the health and welfare of nursing home workers. (Minn. Stat. 181.211-214)

Paid Family and Medical Leave
Previous law allowed employers to restrict parental leave to employees who have worked for them for at least 12 months, previous to making a request for parental leave. New law does not allow for any time restrictions to be placed on employees before they can request parental leave, however, there are no changes to laws regarding employers and offering paid parental leave. Employers are only required to allow the time off with no consequences to the employee; they do not have to pay them. (Minn. Stat. 181.939)

Required Ergonomics Programs
Soon certain health care facilities, which include hospitals, outpatient surgical centers, and nursing homes will be required to create and implement an effective written ergonomics program that sets forth the employer’s plan to minimize the risk of its employees from developing or aggravating existing musculoskeletal disorders. The goal of the plan should be to eliminate all risk and shall include the measures the employer will take to achieve that. The program should consist of:

  • An assessment to identify and reduce musculoskeletal disorder risk factors from the workplace;
  • An initial and ongoing training for employees of ergonomics and its benefits and the importance of reporting early symptoms of musculoskeletal disorder;
  • A procedure to ensure that employees report symptoms early and to prevent or reduce the progression of symptoms;
  • A process where employees can provide potential solutions that could be implemented into the program to reduce, manage, or eliminate workplace musculoskeletal disorders; and
  • Annual evaluations of the ergonomics program or whenever a change in the work process occurs. 

The plan must also include an established procedure to assess the effectiveness of the ergonomics program and its elements. Employers are required to train all existing employees, as well as any new employees prior to starting work, on the facility’s ergonomic program and the contact person(s) on the employee safety committee. (Minn. Stat. 182.677, Subd. 1-4)

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