Potential Changes Coming to Minnesota’s Sick and Safe Time Law

By: John Bisanz, Jr. | March 28, 2024

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Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law went into effect on January 1, 2024. Sick and safe time is paid leave Minnesota employers must provide to employees that can be used for various reasons, including when the employee is sick or caring for a sick family member, or to seek assistance if the employee has experienced domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employees are eligible for ESST if they work at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota. Temporary and part-time employees are also eligible for ESST. While employers may set a limit on each employee’s ESST accrual, they must allow each employee to accrue up to 48 hours per year, carried over year-to-year, until an 80-hour maximum accrual is reached.

On March 14, 2024, the Minnesota Senate and Local Government and Veterans Committee heard a bill that could change the ESST law in the following ways:

  • Changing the statutory definition of “employee” to anyone that is “anticipated by the employer to perform” at least 80 hours of work in Minnesota.
  • If an employer does not provide ESST, or does not allow the use of ESST, the employer is liable to each employee who was not provided or was not allowed to use ESST for an amount equal to all ESST that should have been provided or could have been used at the employee’s regular rate of pay, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.
  • If the employer does not possess records sufficient to determine the ESST an employee should have been provided, the employer is liable to the employee for an amount equal to 48 hours of ESST at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each year ESST was not provided, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.
  • Removing the current requirement that accrued and used ESST hours be included on the employee’s earning statement. Instead, employers could provide a statement to employees at the end of each pay period containing this information using a “reasonable system” to provide the information, including electronic systems or earnings statements.
  • Requiring that employer-provided sick time policies that are in excess of the law’s requirements meet or exceed the standards required under the ESST law.
  • Changing the rate at which ESST is paid from the “same hourly rate as an employee earns” to the employee’s “regular rate of pay.”
  • Adding time spent arranging for, or attending funeral services or a memorial, or addressing financial or legal matters arising after a family member’s death to the list of eligible ESST uses.

The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee is currently considering these changes, and a companion bill was already approved in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The new ESST law and the potential modifications will continue to impact employment in Minnesota. Employers with questions on any of the issues discussed in this article or other anticipated employment law changes coming this year are encouraged to reach out to the author of this article.  If you’d like to learn more about how our knowledge can help protect your business, please contact Henson Efron

The purpose of this article is merely to provide general information and should not be construed as legal advice.

John Bisanz, Jr.
As a litigator, I value my clients above all else, and that’s why they value me. The litigation process can be quite contentious, and often involves complex legal and business issues regarding a wide variety of disputes. Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in your case, it is my responsibility to counsel you throughout the process, and use all of the tools at my...