Image depicting Minnesota's Sick Leave Law

March 28, 2024

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Minnesota’s Sick and Safe Time Law

In a significant win for employees, Minnesota’s New Earned Sick Leave Law, which became effective January 1, 2024, requires employers provide paid leave to employees. Sick and safe time is paid leave that can be used for a variety of reasons related to the employee or his or her family member.

Employees are eligible for sick and safe time if they work at least eighty hours in a year for a Minnesota, employer. Temporary and part-time employees, are eligible for sick and safe time, however, federal employees and independent contractors are not covered under the new law. Certain individuals employed by an air carrier as a flight deck or cabin crew member are also not covered. The earned sick and safe time law does not apply to building and construction industry employees who are represented by a building and construction trades labor organization if a valid waiver of these requirements is provided in a collective bargaining agreement.

Earning Sick Leave in Minnesota: How It Works

Employees can 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.

Safe and Sick Time Covers an Employee’s Family Members

Minnesota Sick and Safe Leave covers more than the employee. Close family members and an close friend are also covered, including:

  1. their child, including 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 (in place of a parent);
  2. their spouse or registered domestic partner;
  3. their sibling, stepsibling, or foster sibling;
  4. their biological, adoptive, or foster parent;
  5. their stepparent or a person who stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent) when the employee was a minor child;
  6. their grandchild, foster grandchild, or step-grandchild;
  7. their grandparent or step-grandparent;
  8. a child of a sibling of the employee;
  9. a sibling of the parents of the employee;
  10. a child-in-law or sibling-in-law;
  11. any of the family members listed in 1 through 10 above of an employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner;
  12. any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship; and
  13. up to one individual annually designated by the employee.

Additional Sick and Safe Leave Requirements

Employers are also required to:

  1. include the total number of earned sick and safe time hours available for use, as well as the total number of earned sick and safe time hours used, on earnings statements provided to employees at the end of each pay period;
  2. provide employees with a notice by January 1, 2024—or at the start of employment, whichever is later—in English and in an employee’s primary language if that is not English, informing them about earned sick and safe time; and
  3. include a sick and safe time notice in the employee handbook, if the employer has an employee handbook.

Earned sick and safe time local ordinances, already exist in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Bloomington. Employers must follow the earned sick and safe time requirements most favorable to their employees. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for enforcing earned sick and safe time requirements.  Employees may bring a civil lawsuit to address earned sick and safe time violations.

If you believe your employer has violated Minnesota’s earned sick and safe time law, please contact an employment lawyer at Wanta Thome to discuss your employment situation.