January 5, 2024

Minnesota Earned Sick & Safe Time Law Took Effect on January 1, 2024 – Are You In Compliance?

In 2023, Minnesota passed a state-wide sick and safe time (“SST”) law that took effect on January 1, 2024. Employees covered by the new law include anyone who is employed by an employer, including temporary and part-time employees, who perform work for at least 80 hours in a year for that employer in Minnesota. Independent contractors are not covered by the new SST law. Minn. Stat. § 181.9445, Subd. 5.

Accrual and Carry Over Requirements

The Minnesota statute includes the following key provisions, among others (these are minimum requirements; employers can choose to be more generous):

• Employees accrue a minimum of one hour of SST for every 30 hours worked, with a cap of 48 hours in a given year unless the employer agrees otherwise. Minn. Stat . § 181.9446(a).
• Employees can carry over unused SST from year to year, but must not exceed 80 hours of available SST at any time unless agreed to by their employer. Minn. Stat. § 181.9446(b)(1).
• In lieu of the above accrual and carry over requirements, an employer can frontload hours at the beginning of each year that the employee can use immediately as follows: (i) 48 hours, if an employer pays an employee for unused SST at the end of the year at the same hourly rate as an employee earns from employment; or (ii) 80 hours, if an employer does not pay an employee for unused SST at the end of the year. Minn. Stat. § 181.9446(b)(2).
• Employees start accruing SST at the commencement of employment and can use it as it is accrued. Minn. Stat. § 181.9446(d & e).
• Employees who are exempt from overtime pay requirements are deemed to work 40 hours per week, unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours. Minn. Stat. § 181.9446(c).

SST Reasons

Employees are allowed to use SST for the following absences (Minn. Stat. § 181.9447, Subd. 1):

(1) For one of the reasons listed below or to care for a family member for one of the reasons listed below:

• a mental or physical illness, injury, or other health condition;
• needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; or
• needs preventative medical or health care.

(2) Due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or
employee’s family member, provided the absence is to:

• seek medical attention related to physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking;
• obtain services from a victim services organization;
• obtain psychological or other counseling;
• seek relocation or take steps to secure an existing home due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; or
• seek legal advice or take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

(3) closure of the employee’s place of business due to weather or other public emergency or an employee’s need to care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to weather or other public emergency;

(4) the employee’s inability to work or telework because the employee is:

• prohibited from working by the employer due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of a communicable illness related to a public emergency; or
• seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, a communicable disease related to a public emergency and such employee has been exposed to a communicable disease or the employee’s employer has requested a test or diagnosis; and

(5) when it has been determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a health care professional that the presence of the employee or family member of the employee in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of the exposure of the employee or family member of the employee to a communicable disease, whether or not the employee or family member has actually contracted the communicable disease.

Definition of “Family Member”

“Family member” is defined much more broadly than the various city SST ordinances. Specifically, a “family member” means (Minn. Stat. § 181.9445, Subd. 7):

(1) an employee’s:

(i) child, foster child, adult child, legal ward, child for whom the employee is legal guardian, or child to whom the employee stands or stood in loco parentis;

(ii) spouse or registered domestic partner;

(iii) sibling, stepsibling, or foster sibling;

(iv) biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child;

(v) grandchild, foster grandchild, or stepgrandchild;

(vi) grandparent or stepgrandparent;

(vii) a child of a sibling of the employee;

(viii) a sibling of the parents of the employee; or

(ix) a child-in-law or sibling-in-law;

(2) any of the family members listed in clause (1) of a spouse or registered domestic partner;

(3) any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship; and

(4) up to one individual annually designated by the employee.

Notice to Employees

Employers must inform employees of their rights under the SST law. Specifically:

• Employers must give notice to all employees that they are entitled to SST, including the amount of SST, the accrual year for the employee, the terms of its use, and a copy of the written policy regarding an employee providing notice of the need to use SST; that retaliation against employees who request or use SST is prohibited; and that employees have the right to file a complaint or bring a civil action if SST is denied by the employer or if the employee is retaliated against for requesting or using SST.
• Employers must provide employees with such notice in English and the primary language of the employee, as identified by the employee, at the commencement of employment or January 1, 2024, whichever is later.
The means used by an employer to provide notice must be at least as effective as the following options:

(1) posting a copy of the notice at each location where employees perform work and where the notice must be readily observed and easily reviewed by all employees performing work;

(2) providing a paper or electronic copy of the notice to employees; or

(3) a conspicuous posting in a web-based or app-based platform through which an employee performs work.

In addition, employers with an employee handbook must include a notice of employee rights and remedies in the handbook.

Minn. Stat. § 181.9447, Subd. 9.

For additional information about Minnesota’s SST law, including a workplace poster and sample notice form, see the following links (employers can use their own notice form and do not need to use the sample notice form):

https://bit.ly/MNESST (MN Department of Labor & Industry ESST page, including a workplace poster and sample notice form near the bottom of the page)
https://bit.ly/MNESSTFAQ (MN Department of Labor & Industry ESST FAQs)