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Minnesota Expands Anti-discrimination Law

Minnesota’s antidiscrimination statute, which applies to employers of all sizes, has had minor updates to several definitions. The changes take effect on August 1, 2024.

First, the definition of disability has been updated to include impairments that are episodic or in remission if they would materially limit a major life activity when active. This brings Minnesota’s definition in line with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (which only applies to employers that have 15 or more employees).

Second, the definition of discriminate has been broadened to include any form of harassment, not just sexual harassment.

Finally, the definition of familial status has been broadened to include, among other things, having custody of a minor child (even when they don’t live with you) and caregiving for an incapacitated person whom the employee lives with.

Action Item

If your Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy includes these definitions (which is unlikely), update it by August 1.

Earned Sick and Safe Time Updates

Minnesota has made significant modifications to the Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law, which applies to all employers. These changes took effect on May 25, 2024 (one day after the law passed), unless otherwise noted. We have covered many of the notable changes below, however, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has provided a complete summary.

Definition of Employee

The definition of employee has been updated to be those anticipated to work at least 80 hours in a year in Minnesota (previously it was employees who performed 80 hours of work in a year in Minnesota).

Rate of Pay

The law clarifies that employers are required to pay employees for ESST at their base rate. For those with multiple hourly rates, it’s the rate they would have been paid during the time leave was taken. Those paid on commission or piecework must be paid a base rate that’s no less than the minimum wage.

An employee’s base rate doesn’t include commissions, bonuses, gratuities, shift differentials (that are in addition to an hourly rate), or premiums for working overtime or on a weekend, holiday, or scheduled day off.

Additional Leave Reason

Employees can now use ESST to make arrangements for or attend funeral services or memorials or handle financial or legal matters after a family member’s death.


The law is now clear that employers can only require reasonable documentation when an employee uses ESST for more than three consecutive scheduled work days.

Additionally, the law has added that if an employee uses ESST for absences related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, and they can’t get documentation in a reasonable time or without added expense, a written statement from the employee stating that they used ESST for this purpose will suffice.

Increment of Time for ESST Use

Employers must now allow employees to use ESST in the same increments of time that they’re paid (unless they’re paid in increments smaller than 15 minutes, in which case the employer can set the increment at 15 minutes).


Employers have more options for notifying employees of the amount of ESST they have used and have available to them each pay period. Specifically, employers no longer have to include employees’ ESST information on earnings statements but can provide this information in any reasonable manner, such as through an electronic system that’s accessible to employees during work hours.

More Generous Sick and Safe Time Policies

If an employer provides paid leave beyond the statutory minimum and allows its use for personal illness or injury, the additional paid leave must meet the same requirements as ESST, except for those addressing accrual. This does not apply to short-term or long-term disability or other salary continuation benefits.

This provision takes effect on January 1, 2025.


Reinstatement of ESST

The law clarifies that for an employee who is separated and rehired within 180 days, previously accrued ESST must be reinstated unless it was paid out upon separation.

Action Item

Update your policy as needed to be compliant with the new changes.

Jury Leave

Effective July 1, 2024, employers must release employees from their regular work schedule to attend jury service and can’t require them to work an alternative shift on days they report to the courthouse. However, employees can voluntarily request an alternative schedule on jury service days.

Personnel Records

Effective July 1, 2024, the Personnel Record Review and Access law has been updated so that some employee rights and notices that previously only applied when an employer had 20 or more employees now apply to employers of all sizes.

HR Consulting Team, HR Services
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