On March 20, 2020, we published an Insight article detailing Minnesota’s swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the many resulting impacts on Minnesota employers. Over the last few weeks, Minnesota’s employment laws have continued to change in significant ways, including:
Articles About Minnesota Labor and Employment Law.
On April 8, 2020, Minnesota State Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-33 Extending Stay at Home Order and Temporary Closure of Bars, Restaurants, and Other Places of Public Accommodation.
Executive Summary: In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 25, 2020 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit outside movement beyond essential needs. The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 27 and presently ends at 5:00 p.m. on April 10.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued a statewide “stay at home” order, effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 27, 2020, until 5:00 p.m. on April 10, 2020.
The Minnesota Supreme Court, the state’s highest appellate court, has upheld a minimum wage ordinance enacted by the City of Minneapolis in 2017, providing for a higher minimum wage than that provided by state law. Graco, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, 2020 Minn. App. LEXIS 12 (Minn. Jan. 20, 2020).
The City of Duluth, Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (ESST) will go into effect on January 1, 2020, and employers should be preparing for compliance.
The City of Duluth has published final rules and revised FAQs implementing its Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. The Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2020 for employers with five or more employees, regardless of whether they work in Duluth. Under the law, employees accrue, or an employer frontloads, paid sick and safe time (SST) that employees can use for themselves or to care for or assist a covered family member for the following reasons: mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; preventive medical care; and absences connected to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. Below we discuss whether and how the rules clarify or gap-fill the ordinance’s requirements.
he City of Duluth, Minnesota’s Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2020. Duluth is the third Minnesota city (joining Minneapolis and St. Paul) to impose sick and safe time leave requirements on employers.
The Ordinance largely incorporates the State of Minnesota’s wage theft legislation (Minnesota Wage Theft Laws). (For details of the Minnesota wage theft legislation, see our article, Minnesota Adds New Wage Payment and Recordkeeping Requirements; Criminalizes ‘Wage Theft.’) The Minneapolis law, however, also imposes additional obligations for employers with respect to any employee who works in the City of Minneapolis at least 80 hours in one year. (Significantly, Minneapolis has taken the enforcement position that “an individual who attends a convention, conference, training, educational class, or similar in the City, but performs no other work in the City for an Employer, is not covered by the Ordinance.” [Emphasis added.]) Employees alleging violations under the Ordinance may file a complaint with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights within two years of the alleged violation, or three years of the alleged violation if the violation is found to be “willful.”
On August 8, 2019, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed the Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance, creating new requirements for Minneapolis employers and giving the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights enforcement power. If Mayor Jacob Frey signs the Ordinance as is expected, the ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2020, and will largely duplicate, and then expand upon, the recently enacted state wage theft law that went into effect on July 1, 2019.1 While Minnesota employers are working diligently to interpret and come into compliance with state wage theft law’s requirements, Minneapolis employers will soon face additional requirements.
Minnesota’s wage theft law, which largely went into effect on July 1, 2019, created new documentation and recordkeeping requirements for employers, including a required written notice that must be distributed to employees and additional earnings statement requirements. This new law also increased the civil penalties applicable to employers that commit recordkeeping violations and created criminal penalties for “wage theft.” The criminal provisions of the law went into effect on August 1, 2019.
Minnesota has enacted detailed new recordkeeping requirements for employers, effective July 1, 2019, and wage theft protections for employees, effective August 1, 2019.
In one of the most significant pieces of legislation affecting employers in many years, the Minnesota Legislature passed, and Governor Walz signed, the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus bill that includes new wage theft protections for employees and new requirements for employers. The wage theft bill is one of the few pieces of bipartisan employment legislation that survived the 2019 legislative session. The law constitutes a very significant change in wage payment requirements and enforcement. It includes increased civil enforcement and recordkeeping requirements for employers, as well as new criminal penalties for intentional wage theft. These changes will go into effect on August 1, 2019.
Minneapolis’ Sick and Safe Ordinance extends to any employee who performs at least 80 hours of work per benefit year in the City of Minneapolis, even if his or her employer is not located within the city’s limits, the Minnesota Court of Appeals has held. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce v. Minneapolis, No. A18-0771 (Apr. 29, 2019). This significant ruling stretches Minneapolis-imposed requirements to non-Minneapolis employers, including — in some instances — requiring them to provide paid time off to their employees.
On April 29, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned a state district court ruling and found that the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (SST Ordinance) applies to employers outside the City limits. Previously, an injunction prohibited Minneapolis from enforcing the SST Ordinance against employers that did not have facilities within the City. Unless this decision is appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court within 30 days—which is likely—the injunction will be dissolved and all employers will have to provide protected sick and safe time to employees who work at least 80 hours a year in the City, regardless of where the employer has facilities.