Minnesota Implements New Earned Sick and Safe Time Policy: What You Need to Know

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Starting January 1, 2024, Minnesota implemented a new Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) policy, causing HR leaders to work quickly to update their policies and ensure compliance. As these sweeping changes take effect, there are several key points to consider.

ESST is defined as paid leave for employees who are sick, caring for sick family members, or seeking help due to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The policy aims to provide support for employees facing difficult circumstances.

To be eligible for paid sick and safe time, workers must meet certain criteria. They must have worked at least 80 hours in a year for a Minnesota employer and perform work within the state. The law does not apply to remote workers in other states. Additionally, independent contractors are not eligible for ESST. Temporary and part-time employees can earn sick and safe time as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

There is an exception to these eligibility criteria for employees in the building and construction industry who are represented by trade labor organizations. If a valid waiver of ESST requirements is included in a collective bargaining agreement, these regulations won’t apply to them.

Employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Employers have the option to allow employees to earn more than 48 hours, but it is not required by law.

When using ESST, employees are paid at their regular hourly rate. They are entitled to use their accrued time off in various situations, including physical or mental illness, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and the risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.

Employees can also use sick and safe time when there is a workplace closure due to inclement weather or a public emergency. Furthermore, they can use their earned time off if a family member experiences a school or care facility closure for the same reasons.

Employers have additional responsibilities under the ESST policy. They must include the employee’s total number of earned ESST hours on the earning statement for each pay period. Employers should also provide a notice to employees by January 1, 2024, or on the employee’s start date, informing them of the ESST regulations. This notice must be in English or the employee’s primary language. If the company has an employee handbook, a notice describing ESST should be included.

In Bloomington, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, there are preexisting local ESST ordinances. In case of conflicting regulations between state law and local ordinances, employers should follow the regulation that is most favorable to employees.

To stay compliant with the new ESST policy, Minnesota employers need to carefully track and calculate paid time off. Paycor offers HCM technology that automates compliance issues like this one. Their Time and Attendance software can be tailored to a company’s policies, allowing easy tracking of sick and safe time hours and usage.

Compliance with changing laws is crucial for employers in any state. Paycor provides HR tools that help businesses update employee handbooks, review time-off requests, and track accrued ESST in one convenient platform.

In conclusion, Minnesota’s new ESST policy brings significant changes for employers and employees alike. It is important for HR leaders to understand and implement the policy to ensure compliance and support their workforce effectively.