Starting from January 1, 2024, Minnesota will have a new sick leave law that will require employers to provide paid leave to employees who work in the state. The law, known as the Earned Sick and Safe Leave (ESSL) Act, was signed by Governor Tim Walz on May 24, 2023, as part of the Omnibus Jobs Act. The law aims to protect the health and well-being of workers and their families, as well as to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and promote public safety.
The ESSL Act will replace the current sick and safe leave law, which will remain in effect until December 31, 2023. The current law only applies to employers with 21 or more employees, and allows employees to use unpaid leave for certain reasons, such as illness, domestic abuse, or sexual assault. The new law will expand the coverage, amount, and usage of sick leave for employees in Minnesota.
Here are some of the key features and benefits of the new Minnesota sick leave law:
- Who is eligible for sick leave? The new law will cover all employees who work at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota, regardless of the size of the employer. This includes part-time and temporary employees, but not independent contractors or certain airline employees.
- How much sick leave can employees earn? Employees will earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Employees can carry over unused sick leave from year to year, but employers can cap the total amount of sick leave at 80 hours. Alternatively, employers can choose to frontload sick leave at the beginning of each year, either by providing 48 hours or 80 hours of sick leave in advance.
- How much will sick leave be paid? Sick leave will be paid at the same hourly rate that employees earn when they are working. However, employers do not have to pay for any tips or commissions that employees would have earned if they had worked.
- What can sick leave be used for? Employees can use their earned sick leave for various reasons, such as:
- Their own or a family member’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, or preventive care.
- Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of themselves or a family member, including seeking medical attention, counseling, legal services, or relocation.
- Closure of their workplace or a family member’s school or care facility due to weather or public emergency.
- When determined by a health authority or health care professional that they or a family member are at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.
- Which family members are included? Employees can use sick leave for the following family members:
- Their child (including biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward, or child for whom they act as a parent).
- Their spouse or registered domestic partner.
- Their sibling (including biological, adopted, foster, or step-sibling).
- Their parent (including biological, adopted, foster, stepparent, legal guardian, or person who acted as a parent when they were a minor).
- Their grandchild (including biological, adopted, foster, or step-grandchild).
- Their grandparent (including biological, adopted, foster, or step-grandparent).
- How can employees request sick leave? Employees can request sick leave orally or in writing from their employer as soon as possible before using it. Employers can require reasonable notice of up to seven days for foreseeable absences (such as scheduled appointments), and as soon as practicable for unforeseeable absences (such as sudden illness). Employers cannot require employees to find a replacement worker as a condition of using sick leave.
- How can employers verify sick leave? Employers can require reasonable documentation from employees to verify their need for sick leave if they use more than three consecutive days of sick leave. However, employers cannot require employees to disclose the details of their or their family member’s health condition or situation. Employers must also keep any information related to sick leave confidential and secure.
- How can employers comply with the law? Employers can comply with the new law by either adopting a policy that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the law, or by following the default rules set by the law. Employers must also provide written notice to employees about their rights and responsibilities under the law at the start of their employment and annually thereafter. Employers must also keep records of the amount of sick leave earned and used by each employee for at least three years.
The new Minnesota sick leave law is a significant change that will affect both employers and employees in the state. The law will provide more protection and flexibility for workers who need to take time off for their own or their family member’s health or safety. The law will also benefit employers by reducing employee turnover, absenteeism, and presenteeism, and by improving employee morale, productivity, and loyalty.
Q: What is the new Minnesota sick leave law?
A: The new Minnesota sick leave law is a law that requires employers to provide paid leave to employees who work in the state for certain reasons, such as illness, domestic abuse, or public emergency.
Q: When will the new Minnesota sick leave law take effect?
A: The new Minnesota sick leave law will take effect on January 1, 2024. The current sick and safe leave law will remain in effect until December 31, 2023.
Q: How much sick leave can employees earn and use under the new law?
A: Employees can earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Employees can carry over unused sick leave from year to year, but employers can cap the total amount of sick leave at 80 hours. Alternatively, employers can choose to frontload sick leave at the beginning of each year, either by providing 48 hours or 80 hours of sick leave in advance. Employees can use their earned sick leave for various reasons, such as their own or a family member’s health or safety.