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What Employers Need to Know: Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)

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This article will cover the upcoming law changes for Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) to help inform you about this legislation, what to expect in 2024, and how to comply with the new laws.

About Earned Sick and Safe Time

Changes are on the horizon for businesses with employees who work in Minnesota regarding paid leave for specific “sick and safe” reasons. Minnesota’s sick and safe time laws. As of January 1, 2024, Minnesota’s ESST law will require employers to provide paid sick and safe leave for employees who work 80+ hours in the state. The current sick and safe time laws will remain in place until December 31, 2023, and can be viewed here.

Sick and safe time is defined by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry as “paid leave employers must provide to employees in Minnesota that can be used for certain reasons, including when an employee is sick, to care for a sick family member or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse.” This type of short-term leave must be paid at the same rate that the employee is compensated normally. The new sick and safe time law will not impact employers that already offer paid leave as part of a regular PTO (paid time off) plan, as long as the plan in place already meets Minnesota’s ESST requirements.


Under the new law, ESST can be used for a variety of different reasons for the employee or an employee’s family member, including the following:

  • Physical or mental illness pertaining to preventative care and treatment.
  • Leave due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Workplace closure due to weather or public emergencies.
  • In contagious disease cases, as determined by a health care professional.

Family members include children, spouses or domestic partners, siblings, parents, grandchildren, grandparents, and any family members of a spouse or a domestic partner. This also includes relationships related by blood or equivalent to a family relationship, as well as one additional individual that can be annually designated by employees.

Employees who work at least 80 hours per year in Minnesota and who are not federal employees or independent contractors are eligible for sick and safe time, including temporary and part-time workers. Certain employees in the construction/building industry whom a trades labor organization represents may not be eligible for sick and safe time “if a valid waiver of these requirements is provided in a collective bargaining agreement.”

Law Changes and Employer Responsibilities

Under Minnesota’s new ESST laws, for every 30 hours worked, employees will earn one hour of sick and safe time, with a maximum accrual of 48 hours annually, unless an employer provides additional hours. Again, it is important to note that employers that already offer a PTO plan for employees to use for sick leave that meets the new ESST requirements will not have to implement an additional sick and safe time category.

Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, and Duluth already have local ordinances for ESST, but the new law will expand this leave to eligible employees working in every city in Minnesota on January 1, 2024. After this date, employers will be required to follow the “most protective” law for their employees. For this reason, employers in the aforementioned cities should review local and state ordinances to ensure they follow the correct ones.

In addition to compliance with the new statewide ESST, employers are also responsible for the following:

  • A notice must be provided to employees detailing the total number of sick and safe time hours available to them. Updates on the total number of hours used should be provided on employee earnings statements at the end of each pay period.
  • Employees must be given the sick and safe time notice by January 1, 2024, or at the beginning of their employment in their primary language.
  • ESST notices should also be included in the company’s official Employee Handbook, if applicable.

Additional resources on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website include the employee notice, fact sheet, videos, FAQs, workplace posters, and more. You can also find the details of the new laws on the Minnesota Legislature website.

If you have any specific questions regarding Minnesota’s ESST, we encourage you to contact your company’s Human Resources department. More information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will be available closer to January 1, 2024.

In addition to providing insights and updates on our industry’s latest news, Dahl Consulting offers employment expertise and solutions for all your workforce and hiring needs. Whether you’re searching for great talent or need a solution to manage your current workforce, connect with us today!