Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged.


Minnesota state law mandates that employers must pay employees for all hours worked including training time, on-call time, cleaning time, waiting time, or any other time when they must be on the work premises either involved in performing duties in connection with employment or waiting until work is prepared or available.


Overtime rates must be at least 1½ the employee’s regular rate of pay. The regular rate of pay is determined by dividing the employee’s total pay in any workweek by the total hours worked in the workweek. An employee’s pay includes credits allowed against the minimum wage for meals and/or lodging. No employer may employ an employee for a workweek longer than 48 hours, unless the employee receives compensation for employment in excess of 48 hours in a workweek at a rate of at least 1.5 times the regular rate at which the employee is employed.


The state of Minnesota or a political subdivision may grant time off at the rate of 1.5 hours for each hour worked in excess of 48 hours in a week in lieu of monetary compensation. An employer does not violate the overtime pay provisions by employing any employees for a workweek in excess of 48 hours without paying the compensation for overtime employment prescribed –

      • If the employee is employed under an agreement meeting the requirement of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended; or
      • If the employee is employed as a sugar beet hand laborer on a piece rate basis, provided that the regular rate of pay received per hour of work exceeds the applicable wage provided by at least 40 cents.

Holiday hours, vacation time or sick leave are not counted in figuring overtime hours. Overtime is computed on a seven-day workweek basis regardless of the length of the pay period. Hours worked may not be averaged over the pay period or used to offset shorter workweeks. The workweek can be any consecutive seven-day period that the employer chooses, but may not vary once chosen.


An employer must allow each employee adequate time from work within every 4 consecutive hours of work to utilize the nearest convenient restroom. Nothing prohibits employers and employees from establishing rest breaks pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.


Breast Feeding Break

An employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The break time must, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer is not required to provide break time under this section if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a bathroom or a toilet stall, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public and that includes access to an electrical outlet, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The employer would be held harmless if reasonable effort has been made.

Annual Leave

Annual Leaves are unpaid leave based on the agreement between employer and employee (FSLA). Company policy can determine when any benefits are due, such as vacation, sick leave, and severance packages. Benefits are payable within 30 days of when they become due.

Minimum Wage

The state’s hourly minimum wages are $9.65 for large employers and $7.87 for small employers.


The training wage that must be paid to employees younger than 20 for the first 90 consecutive days of employment and the youth wage that must be paid to employees younger than 18 who are not covered under federal law are $7.75 an hour, an increase from the $7.25 hourly minimum training and youth wages in effect through July 31. A large employer is an enterprise with an annual gross revenue of at least $500,000, and a small employer is an enterprise with an annual gross revenue of less than $500,000.


Minnesota’s minimum-wage rates will be adjusted for inflation beginning January 1, 2019, to $9.86 an hour for large employers and $8.04 an hour for other state minimum wages.


Effective January 1, 2019, the following are Minnesota’s minimum-wage rates:

      • Large employers must pay at least $9.86 an hour when the employer’s annual gross revenues are $500,000 or more.
      • Small employers must pay at least $8.04 an hour when the employer’s annual gross revenues are less than $500,000.
      • The training wage rate, $8.04 an hour, may be paid to employees younger than 20 years of age for the first 90 consecutive days of employment.
      • The youth wage rate, at least $8.04 an hour, may be paid to employees younger than 18 years of age.


Employers may pay disabled workers at a lower rate than the minimum wage, but the rate cannot be less than 50 percent of the minimum wage. Effective August 1, 2015, the training wage paid to employees younger than 20 for the first 90 consecutive days of employment is $7.25 an hour, an increase from the $6.50 rate in effect to July 31, 2015. The rate increased on August 1, 2016, to $7.75 an hour. New hires or learners must not be older than 20. Current workers cannot be displaced in favor of training-wage workers.

Tips & Gratuities

No tip credit is allowed in Minnesota. Employers of wait staff or other tipped employees may not use employee tips to offset the minimum wage. Tipped employees must be paid the minimum wage for all hours worked.

Meal Breaks

Employees who work eight hours or more must have sufficient time to eat a meal. A break of 30 minutes or more is usually long enough to be considered a bona fide meal period, although a shorter period may be adequate under special circumstances. Meal periods of less than 20 minutes and meal periods during which an employee is not entirely free from work responsibility may not be deducted from hours worked. An employer need not permit an employee to leave the premises, if the employee is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period. Employers and employees may establish different meal periods pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.


Each employee must be allowed adequate time within every four consecutive hours of work to utilize the nearest convenient restroom. Rest periods of less than 20 minutes may not be deducted from hours worked. Employers and employees may establish different rest breaks pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

Special Leave

Pregnancy Leave

Female employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during or following pregnancy when:

      • They work for a company with 21 or more employees at one site; and/or
      • They worked at least half-time during the past 12 months; and/or
      • They have been with the company for at least 12 months.

An employee may also be able to use employer-provided benefits, like sick leave or disability leave, if she is sick during her pregnancy or to recover after childbirth.

Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Other Sick/Injury Leave

An employer that allows an employee to take time off for their own injury or illness must also allow the employee to take time off:

      • to care for an ill or injured minor child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent or stepparent, in the same manner, the employer would allow an employee to use the leave for themselves.
      • for themselves or a relative (as listed above) to provide or receive assistance because of sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking.
Family Leave

An employer must grant up to ten working days of a leave of absence without pay to an employee whose immediate family member, as a member of the United States armed forces, has been injured or killed while engaged in active service.

Jury Duty Leave

Jury Duty Leave is based on an agreement between employer and employee.

New Paid Sick Law – St Paul, Minnesota (Effective November 30, 2017)
      • Employees accrue one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked.
      • Employees begin accruing ESST on their start date.
      • When calculating how many ESST hours an employee has accrued, employers must count hours actually worked. Employers are not required to count the hours taken off for ESST.
      • For employers who do not have an existing PTO policy, hourly employees accrue ESST when they work overtime hours. In those circumstances, employees continue to earn 1 hour of ESST per 30 hours worked. There is no requirement to provide an “overtime rate” for ESST accrual. There is no obligation to provide accrual on overtime under the accrual method for employers that have an existing PTO policy that is more generous than what is required in the Ordinance.
      • Employees can accrue up to 48 hours in one year unless their employer opts to give them more ESST.
      • Frontloading is permissible as long as it meets the minimal requirements of the Ordinance.
Donor Leave

A private employer who employs 20 or more employees shall grant an employee up to 40 hours of paid leave for Organ Donation. §181.945, §181.9456.

Last updated on: February 7th, 2019