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Minnesota Amends Its Earned Sick and Safe Time Act and Paid Leave Law Part 2

04 Jul



Update Applicable to:Effective date
All employers regardless of sizeImmediately

What happened?

On May 24, 2024, Governor Walz signed amendments to the state’s Paid Leave Law (PLL) and its Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (ESST) under H.F. 5247.

What are the details?

Key Bites of Earned Sick and Safe Leave (ESST)

  • Remedies added: if an employer does not (1) provide ESST, (2) allow the use of ESST, or (3) possess records sufficient to determine the ESST, the employer is liable to all employees in that situation for an amount equal to all the ESST that would have been provided, plus liquidated damages (Article 11, Section 3, HB 5247).
  • Required Statement of Earning by Employer Notice: now they must not include (1) the total number of ESST hours accrued and available for use, and (2) the total number of ESST hours used during the pay period (Article 11, Section 4, HB 5247).
  • Base Rate Instead of Hours: base rate subdivision 4a. is added along the terms and conditions by which the rate of leave is earned. Commissions, shift differentials additional to the hourly rate, premium payments for overtime, gratuities, and others, are excluded (Article 11, Section 6, HB 5247).
  • More Employees are Included and Excluded: Independent contractors, firefighters, elected officials, and farm employees are now excluded from the definition of “employee”; Employees are those who work at least 80 hours per year in Minnesota and those who are expected to do so; some exceptions are eliminated (Article 11, Section 7, HB 5247).
  • Added reason for leave: Employees may now take ESST leave to make arrangements for or attend funeral services or a memorial, or to address financial or legal matters that arise after the death of a family member (Article 11, Section 8, HB 5247).
  • Safety leave documentation: If employees are unable to get documentation of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking in a reasonable time or without added expense, then reasonable documentation can include a written statement from employees showing that they are using or used leave for a qualifying reason, such as for safety purposes (Article 11, Section 10, HB 5247).
  • Smallest increment: Now, ESST leave may be used in the same time increment for which employees are paid, except for leave that’s less than 15-minute increments. Conversely, employers may not require leave use in more than four-hour increments (Article 11, Section 11, HB 5247).
  • Employers Records and Required Leave Statement: At the end of each pay period, employers must give each employee, in writing or electronically, the employee’s current total number of ESST hours that (1) are available use, (2) were used during the pay period, (3) records must be kept for 3 years and (4) records must be available upon request by the commissioner in a maximum time of 72 hours (Article 11, Section 12, HB 5247).
  • Weather exceptions: Employees may not use ESST for weather-related events if their work duties require them to respond to a weather event and they are a firefighter, peace officer, 911 telecommunicator, correctional facility guard, or public employee with a commercial driver’s license (the latter under certain circumstances) (Article 11, Section 14, HB 5247).
  • More generous policies: All paid time off and other paid leave available to employees in excess of the smallest amount required by the law for absences from work due to personal illness or injury, but not including short-term or long-term disability or other salary continuation benefits, must meet or exceed the minimum standards and requirements for ESST use (Article 11, Section 15, HB 5247).
  • Other changes like definitions were amended.

For a good breakdown of the ESST.

Business Considerations

  • Employers should ensure that all employees are correctly classified according to the new definitions of “employee” under the law.
  • Employers should update their policies if they have not done so.
  • Employers should audit their Leave Policies and amend them to accommodate the additional reason for leave and the new rules about safety leave documentation.
  • Employers should implement time-tracking systems that can accurately track the smallest increment of ESST leave used by their employees.
  • Employers should regularly inform their employees about their available and used ESST hours at the end of each pay period. It can be done in the same form.
  • Employers should determine which of their employees’ work duties require them to respond to weather events and inform them about the new rule.
  • Employers should verify that your paid time off and other paid leave policies meet or exceed the minimum standards and requirements for ESST use.
  • Employers should conduct training sessions for their HR and management teams on the new law and its implications.

Source References


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