Minnesota becomes the latest state to pass a paid sick leave law that includes all employers – including families with household help.
Effective January 1, 2024, Minnesota’s earned sick and safe time law requires employers to provide paid leave to employees who work in the state.
Sick and safe time is paid leave that workers can use for certain reasons, including when they are sick, to care for a sick family member, or to seek assistance if they or a family member have experienced domestic abuse.
A household employee is eligible for sick and safe time if they work at least 80 hours in a year for a family in Minnesota and are not an independent contractor. Temporary and part-time household employees are eligible for sick and safe time. However, temporary workers supplied by a staffing agency (which may include nanny agencies) are considered employees of the staffing agency unless a contractual agreement states otherwise.
An employee earns one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked and can earn a maximum of 48 hours each year unless their employer agrees to a higher amount.
Reasons to use earned sick and safe time
Employees can use their earned sick and safe time for any of the following reasons:
- the employee’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care;
- a family member’s mental or physical illness, treatment, or preventive care;
- absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or a family member;
- closure of the employee’s workplace due to weather or public emergency or closure of a family member’s school or care facility due to weather or public emergency; and
- when determined by a health authority or health care professional that the employee or family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease.
Employees may use earned sick and safe time for the following family members:
- child, including a foster child, adult child, legal ward, a child for whom the employee is a legal guardian or child to whom the employee stands or stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent);
- spouse or registered domestic partner;
- sibling, stepsibling, or foster sibling;
- biological, adoptive or foster parent, stepparent, or a person who stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent) when the employee was a minor child;
- grandchild, foster grandchild, or step-grandchild;
- grandparent or step-grandparent;
- a child of a sibling of the employee;
- a sibling of the parents of the employee;
- a child-in-law or sibling-in-law;
- any of the family members listed in 1 through 9 above of an employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner;
- any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship; and
- up to one individual annually designated by the employee.
Requirements for household employers
Household employers are also required to:
- include the total number of earned sick and safe time hours accrued and available for use, as well as the total number of earned sick and safe time hours used, on earnings statements provided to employees at the end of each pay period; and
- 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 earned sick and safe time; and
- include a sick and safe time notice in the employee handbook, if the employer has an employee handbook.
The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will prepare a uniform employee notice that families can use and will make it available in English and the five most common languages spoken in Minnesota.
Earned sick and safe time local ordinances already exist in the cities of Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, Minnesota. When Minnesota’s statewide earned sick and safe time law goes into effect, it won’t preempt local ordinances that provide more generous benefits. Household employers must follow the most protective requirements that apply to them.
If a family already offers their employee sick and safe time under a paid time off policy that is as or more generous than the Minnesota law, the family doesn’t need to offer additional time off. However, the family must satisfy all of the requirements of the Minnesota state law.
Minnesota’s current sick and safe leave law remains in effect until December 31, 2023, and will be replaced by the new earned sick and safe time law on January 1, 2024.
GTM can help
Household employment can get tricky so it helps to have experts on your side. GTM Payroll has been assisting families with household help for more than 30 years. Our team of certified payroll professionals, household employment tax experts, licensed insurance brokers, and PHR-certified HR advisors are available to answer your questions and help with any task. To learn more, call (800) 929-9213 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team. Or you can schedule time with them at your convenience.
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