Minnesota: Introducing Earned Sick and Safe Time Leave
Recently, the Minnesota legislature passed a statewide Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law. The new paid sick leave legislation shall come into effect on January 1, 2024.
Currently, employees are entitled to use any available unpaid sick leave benefits provided by the employer as per their employment policy to care for a child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, stepparent, mother-in-law, father-in-law or, grandchild who is sick or injured.
Effective January 1, 2024, employees shall be entitled to the new Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) leave for various reasons.
Duration of Leave: An employee will be entitled to one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked and can earn a maximum of 48 hours each year unless the employer agrees to a higher amount.
ESST hours will be accrued on all hours worked, including overtime, unless exempt from earning overtime compensation.
Eligibility Criteria: Minnesota employers with one or more employees shall be required to provide paid earned sick and safe leave (ESSL) to all employees who work for the employer within the state at least 80 hours during the year.
Temporary and part-time employees are eligible, except building and construction industry employees.
Pay Benefits: Employees will be entitled to receive Sick and safe time at the hourly rate equivalent to the same amount they receive if they are working.
Usage of the Leave: Employees will be able to use their earned sick and safe time for the following reasons:
- the employee’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care;
- a family member’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care;
- absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or a family member;
- closure of the employee’s workplace due to weather or public emergency or closure of a family member’s school or care facility due to weather or public emergency; and
- when determined by a health authority or health care professional that the employee or a family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.
Carryforward of Unused Leave: Employers shall be required to permit employees to carry over unused ESST into the next year. The total amount of accrued but unused earned sick and safe time for an employee must not exceed 80 hours at any time unless an employer agrees to a higher amount.
Alternatively, employers can choose a “front-loading” method that will allow employees to receive ESST at the beginning of each year, eliminating the need for carryover.
Notice and Documentation Requirement: An employee will be required to provide a notice to their employer at least 7 days before taking the leave. In case of foreseeable, employees must inform their employers as soon as possible.
Also, if employees use earned sick and safe time for more than 3 consecutive days, employers may require reasonable documentation confirming the need for earned sick and safe time.
It is important to note that Minnesota’s statewide ESST policy does not supersede existing local paid sick and safe leave mandates in Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Employers must follow the most protective law that applies to their employees.
Take away – Minnesota employers must take steps to comply with the amendments before January 1, 2024. They must review and potentially revise their policies to align with the upcoming changes to the existing leave requirements.