What is the Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law?
Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) is paid leave employers must provide to employees in Minnesota that can be used for certain reasons, including when an employee or family member is sick, an employee’s or family member’s mental or physical illness, the closure of family member’s school or care facility due to weather, or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse. ESST is paid at the same hourly rate as the employee earns from employment, but cannot be less than the local or state minimum wage.
There is no small employer exemption, and all employees are eligible (full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, etc.) if they meet 2 criteria – work at least 80 hours in one year and are not an independent contractor. The scope for exemptions is very limited – contact us if you’d like to explore further.
Requirements to Comply with MN ESST Law
- An employee is to earn 1 hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked and has to earn a minimum of 48 hours each year. Hours can rollover to the next year, but there can be no more than 80 hours in an employee’s ‘bank’ at one time.
- Employers must include the total number of ESST hours accrued and available for use, as well as the total number of ESST used, on earning statements provided to employees at the end of each pay period.
- Employers must provide employees with a notice by January 1, 2024 – or at the start of employment, whichever is later – in English and in an employee’s primary language if that is not English, informing them about ESST.
- Include an ESST notice in the employee handbook if the employer has an employee handbook.
- Determine a ‘year’ for purposes of the ESST law (i.e., calendar year, fiscal year, date of employment, etc.)
Items of Note
Employers have 3 options for managing the ESST and can use different methods for different employees (full-time vs part-time) as long as it is documented in the notice provided to the employees.
- Option 1: Accrual and carryover:
- Employees begin accruing ESST from their first day of employment.
- ESST accrues at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked up to a minimum of 48 hours.
- Unused ESST hours are carried over into the next year.
- Employees are maxed at 80 hours unless the employer agrees to a higher amount.
- Option 2: Frontloading with payout and no carry over:
- A minimum of 48 hours of ESST is made available for immediate use at the start of each year.
- Unused ESST hours are paid out at the end of the year at the employee’s hourly rate.
- Option 3: Frontloading with no payout and no carry over:
- A minimum of 80 hours of ESST is made available for immediate use at the start of each year.
- Unused ESST hours are not paid out and not carried over at the end of the year.
An employer’s current paid leave, vacation or sick time policy may already meet the minimum requirements for ESST and nothing has to be done further.
This is the minimum requirement – this does not restrict employers from providing a more generous paid leave policy.
The MN Dept. of Labor continues to add to their FAQs and is still working on the sample notice that employers need to give to their employees by January 1, 2024.
Questions? Reach out!