Important New Earned Sick and Safe Time Rules Effective January 1, 2024

Minnesota Sick Leave Law 2023

Minnesota employers and employees need to understand this new employee benefits law in Minnesota. Employers need to act now to comply with the law.

Our legal team has comprehensively analyzed the details of the new Minnesota law so employers can understand their responsibilities and employees can understand their rights.

As of January 1, 2024, the statewide Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law took effect for most employers and employees in the state.

This long-awaited law provides a framework for paid sick and safe leave that covers hundreds of thousands of workers without access to paid time off (“PTO”), as well as employees with PTO.

Read on to ensure your business will fully comply as enforcement begins in 2024.

Who Does Minnesota’s Sick Leave Law Apply To?

Minnesota’s ESST legislation sets mandates for employers in the state with at least 1 employee. All regular full-time and part-time workers qualify, along with many temporary staff like seasonal help. Independent contractors remain exempt.

Overall, eligibility extends broadly across employees that:

  • Perform at least 80 hours of work annually in Minnesota for any size employer
  • Are W-2 staff, not 1099 contractors
  • Work for private or public entities regardless of revenue

Accrual Rates: How Much Sick Time Must Employers Provide?

Minnesota mandates ESST accrual at 1 hour for every 30 hours on the job – with accrual beginning at the start of employment or the 2023 law’s effective date, whichever occurs later.

Employers must enable accrual of up to 48 hours of ESST annually. More generous accrual rates or annual allowances can be permitted if desired, but 48 hours reflects the minimum.

What Situations Can Employees Utilize Earned Sick Time For?

Minnesota’s ESST legislation enables fairly wide usage, including care for others beyond just the employee’s own health/wellness needs.

Covered situations for sick leave use include:

  • Medical Needs
  • Mental or physical medical conditions requiring diagnosis, treatment, recuperation
  • Preventative medical appointments
  • Addressing long-term chronic health issues
  • Caregiving
  • Providing care or transport for ill family members
  • Attending family member medical visits
  • Making alternate arrangements when care facilities close
  • Safety, Violence, and Public Health
  • Absence needed due to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking situations
  • Finding/obtaining victim services, legal help, relocation
  • Isolation orders to avoid infecting others during contagions

Employers can elect to allow ESST application even more broadly if desired as a benefit enhancement. Those additional usages require explicit policies.

What Else Must Employers Provide to Comply?

Beyond directly furnishing the 48 hours of ESST based on hours worked, Minnesota employers must fulfill three additional requirements:

1. Document Available ESST on Pay Statements

Earnings statements provided on each pay date must list the total hours of ESST available for use and the total hours already taken during that period.

2. Supply Written ESST Notice to Employees

A customized notice must go to all employees by January 2024 explaining firm-specific policies, usage procedures, tracking methods, and rights.

3. Incorporate ESST Details into Handbooks

If employee handbooks exist, ESST-related expectations require inclusion by January 2024 as well.

How Can We Smoothly Adjust Operations to This New Reality?

Integrating an entirely new form of protected leave requires adjustments operationally. Besides policy drafting, key steps for seamless transitions include:

  1. Evaluate workflows vulnerable to unplanned absences
  2. Cross-train staff to enable coverage
  3. Consider hiring contingencies
  4. Configure payroll tools to calculate accrual
  5. Allow easy ESST input/tracking
  6. Generate required pay statement data
  7. Coach managers to approve valid requests
  8. Inform all staff to expect changes
  9. Encourage responsible use

Proactive preparation empowers employers to manage ESST obligations strategically rather than reactively.

Minnesota employers still have time to optimize systems and processes. However, it delays the risk of non-compliance exposure once enforcement activates. Reach out now with any questions.

Preparing for ESST Compliance in 2024

As of January 2024, Minnesota’s new earned sick and safe leave laws are in effect.

If you haven’t done so already, employers should begin revising policies and practices to align with the law smoothly. Carefully tracking accruals, reporting on payroll, allowing usage, updating the handbook in January, and avoiding discrimination or retaliation violations takes thoughtful preparation.

Companies failing to make necessary changes risk enforcement actions. Consult our legal team at Safe Harbor Estate Law to upgrade your paid time off policies and ensure seamless compliance.

Please let us know if you have questions about implementing the ESST for your business.


Author Bio

Margaret Barrett is the Founder and Owner of Safe Harbor Estate Law, a Saint Paul, MN, estate planning law firm she founded in 2013. With almost 15 years of combined experience in litigation and Minnesota estate law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of estate law matters. Her practice areas include estate planning, asset protection, elder law, and more.

Margaret received her Juris Doctor from the William Mitchell College of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Ramsey County Bar Association.

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