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Minnesota Passes Sick and Safe Time Law

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Small Business |

What is sick and safe time?

Sick and safe time is paid leave employers must provide to employees in Minnesota that can be used for certain reasons, including when an employee is sick, to care for a sick family member or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking.

Businesses in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington were already subject to sick and safe time ordinances. Starting January 1, 2024, employers must follow the requirement that is most generous as it applies to the employees.

Sick and safe time eligibility

Employees are eligible for sick and safe time if they work at least 80 hours in a year for a Minnesota employer, (and are not an independent contractor).  Seasonal, temporary, and part-time workers are eligible for sick and safe time as long as they work at least 80 hours per year.

How is sick and safe time accrued?

Employees earn one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year, unless the employer agrees to a higher amount.

Employers also have the option to “frontload” sick and safe time by giving each employee 48 hours of sick and safe time on January 1 of each year.

How is sick and safe time paid?

Sick and safe time must be paid at the same hourly rate the employee earns while they are working.

What can sick and safe time be used for?

Employees can use their earned sick and safe time for:

  • The employee’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventative care;
  • a family member’s mental or physical illness, treatment or preventive care;
  • workplace closure due to weather or public emergency, or the closure of a family member’s school or care facility for the same reasons;
  • when a health authority deems that the employee or a family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease; and
  • absence due to sexual assault, domestic abuse, or stalking of the employee or a family member.

Employer responsibilities

  • Include the total number of hours accrued and available for use, and the total number of sick and safe hours used on employee paystubs at the end of each earning period;
  • Include a sick and safe time notice in employee handbooks;
  • Provide notice informing employees about sick and safe time;
  • Employers must allow employees to rollover accrued but unused sick and safe time, but may cap the total amount of accrued sick and safe time at 80 hours;
  • Employer policies already in place that meet or exceed the legal criteria will comply with the new law, so long as they do not have any conflicting provisions. Its not necessary for the policy to be specifically labeled as sick and safe time to fulfill legal requirements. However, incorporating references to sick and safe time may avoid unnecessary headaches down the road.

Questions? Contact rb LEGAL today at (763) 582-1414 regarding implementation of Minnesota’s sick and safe time law, as well as updates to employee handbooks and existing PTO policies.