If you live in Minnesota, chances are you may have already heard rumblings about the new Employee Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Law passed during our latest legislative session. This law brings some major overhauls not only to the quantity and type of paid time off (PTO) Minnesota employers are required to give their employees, but also the ways in which PTO is reported & tracked.
These changes are slated to go into effect on January 1st, 2024. Now that the new year has arrived, it is time for a crash course on the basics of this new law.
Minnesota employers are now required to accrue “Employee Sick and Safe Time (ESST)” for their employees based on hours worked. The MN Department of Labor and Industry describes ESST as time off that can be used for reasons including (but not limited to):
Employers can require their employees to give notice of intent to use ESST up to seven days in advance if the cause is reasonably foreseeable. If it is not, they can only require notice as early as is practical.
The Department of Labor specifies that this is a minimum requirement. If an employer’s pre-existing leave policy meets or exceeds these requirements, no changes are necessary.
For purposes of this law, an “employee” is anyone—resident or nonresident—who works at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota (excluding independent contractors). Employers are only required to accrue ESST for nonresidents on hours they worked in Minnesota. A “year” is defined by the Department of Labor as “any consecutive 12-month period of time as determined by an employer and clearly communicated to employees.”
Employers must allow employees to accrue one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours. In other words, an employer cannot stop accruing ESST for an employee until they have accumulated 48 hours. Various forms of front-loading are available to employers as well to help simplify record keeping and reporting.
Just like above with the definition of ESST, the amount and rate of hours accrued are minimum requirements. If an employer’s policy exceeds this, no changes are necessary.
Employers will also become subject to more stringent reporting and record keeping requirements.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has been consistently updating this page with new information and FAQs on this new law. Even so, as with any new law, navigating changes like these can be daunting. Contact your tax or payroll advisor for more information about how this new law impacts you.
If you have any questions about Safe and Sick Time, don’t hesitate to reach out to Associate Manager Tyler Sauve, CPA for more information.