Minnesota paid leave legislation is in the works. Two bills, in fact, are being considered by lawmakers.
Democrats there, with control of all three branches of government, have pushed for a new paid leave laws this session.
The latest versions of paid leave legislation in Minnesota would apply to nearly every employer in the state, emblematic of a larger nationwide push for new paid leave laws.
Minnesota lawmakers are considering a paid sick and safe time law, as well as paid family and medical leave.
UPDATE (MAY/June 2023):
It’s also of note that three jurisdictions in Minnesota already have paid leave laws on the books:
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
Minnesota Paid Sick and Safe Time
Starting with paid sick and safe time, employees would accrue one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 48 hours per year.
Like other jurisdictions with such laws, employees would be able to take paid time off to deal with their own health issues, as well as for domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking.
However, employees could also use leave to care for a loved one. Such an individual is broadly defined under the proposed bill and includes foster children, legal words, step-grandparents, and those who are “the equivalent of a family relationship.”
If passed, eligible reasons for use would include an employee’s:
- Mental or physical illness, injury, or other health condition
- Need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition
- Need for preventive medical or health care;
- Care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or other health condition
- Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or employee’s family member
- Closure of the worker’s place of business due to weather or other public emergency or an employee’s family member in a similar situation
- Inability to work or telework because of a communicable illness related to a public emergency (like COVID-related issues)
If enacted, it would go into effect in 2024.
Also, these laws generally require employers to display a labor law poster.
Minnesota Paid Family and Medical Leave Legislation
The Minnesota Legislature is also considering paid family and medical leave.
This bill, like others across the U.S., would be funded through a payroll tax on both employers and employees.
Employees would be eligible to take up to 12 weeks of medical leave and up to 12 weeks of family leave per year. Benefits would be based on an average weekly wage formula.
Similar to the state’s proposed sick and safe time law, “family member” is broadly defined. And employees could use the time to care for their own serious health condition, that of a family member, pregnancy, child bonding, etc.
As is the case with most paid leave laws, employers that offer commensurate benefits would not be subject to the law.
Paid Leave Across the U.S.
As these paid leave bills work their way through the Minnesota Legislature, it should remind employers of the growth of such legislation across the U.S.
In 2022 alone, there were about 240 paid leave bills introduced, with 30 bills that were either enacted, updated, amended or introduced new paid leave laws.
Plus, employers also have to keep up with guidance and updates to paid leave laws that are already in effect. At the start of 2023, there were several updates to existing laws for employers to monitor. Read our blog, What’s New for Paid Leave Laws on Jan. 1, 2023?, for more information.
Meanwhile, these updates don’t happen on regular schedules, like most minimum wage laws, making it doubly difficult for employers to remain complaint. And that includes labor law poster updates.
Large employers should continue to keep an eye on jurisdictions entities where they have locations to ensure compliance and prepare for any potential changes.
Guide: County and City Paid Leave Laws
It remains to be seen whether these Minnesota paid leave bills become law. Still, it bears monitoring as the tide of these laws continue to grow across the U.S.
And with lawmakers considering both paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave in Minnesota, the obligations for employers could be twofold in the near future.