Minnesota Earned Sick & Safe Time
On May 24, 2023, Minnesota Governor Walz signed Minnesota Earned Safe and Sick Time (ESST) into law. This new law grants the majority of Minnesota employees the right to earn paid time off for specific reasons. The law takes effect on January 1, 2024.
The Minnesota ESST requires employers to offer paid sick and safe time that can be used for certain reasons, including employee illness, care for a sick family member or need to seek assistance in the event of domestic abuse.
This new law applies to employers that employ one or more persons. Covered employees include full-time, part-time, and temporary employees who perform 80 hours of work or more in Minnesota annually. A “covered employee” does not include independent contractors and certain flight deck or cabin crewmembers of an airline.
Reasons for Leave
The following are reasons for an employee to qualify for paid leave under ESST:
- Employee: Mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care; Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; Closure of the workplace due to weather or public emergency; Health authority or Health care professional determines employee is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.
- Employee Family Member: Mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care; Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; Closure of school or care facility due to weather or public emergency; Health authority or Health care professional determines employee’s family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.
Amount of ESST
Covered employees accrue 1 hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked. Accruals can be limited to 48 hours of ESST per year. Earned, unused ESST can carry over annually, subject to a cap of 80 hours or more.
Employers are required to implement the following changes:
- Notice: A notice to all employees of ESST rights must be provided and be included in any employee handbook.
- Pay and Benefits: Employees using ESST must be paid at their hourly rate. Benefits must be maintained during ESST as if the employee was actively at work. Employees must continue to make any required contributions towards those benefits.
- Recordkeeping: Employers must maintain records documenting the hours worked by an employee and the ESST taken. This information must be on the employee’s earning statement.
Starting on January 1, 2024, employers should be ready to comply with Minnesota’s ESST. For employers with existing paid leave policies, they may be well served to modify those existing policies to meet ESST requirements. Other employers may find it more beneficial to allow employees to accrue and use ESST per the terms of the law, rather than modifying or implementing new paid leave policies. For more detailed information on state paid leave laws, please contact your M3 Account Team.
The information provided is a summary of laws and regulations relating to employee benefit plan compliance. This information should not be construed as legal advice. In all cases, employers should consult with their own legal counsel.