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State-wide Law Mandates Paid Leave for Employees Through ESST

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Employment Law |

Minnesota is about to experience a significant shift in worker rights with the introduction of the Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law. Scheduled to take effect from January 1, 2024, this legislation requires employers to provide paid leave to their employees who contribute at least 80 hours a year to their work in the state.

Although the cities of Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul were the first cities to adopt this law, the law will soon apply to the entire state. This enables the benefits of ESST to be universally accessible to all employees across Minnesota.

This ensures that the state applies the law evenly to everyone, providing equal coverage across Minnesota.

Valid reasons for taking the leave

The ESST law signifies a significant step forward in employee rights, granting employees the authority to take paid leave for various circumstances. These circumstances can include:

  • Personal or family illness (whether infectious or not)
  • Seeking assistance in instances of sexual assault or domestic abuse experienced by the employee or their family members
  • Coping with closures of workplaces or care facilities due to weather or public emergencies

Ultimately, the ESST law enhances the support system for employees as it recognizes that they need to balance work with personal and familial health and safety needs.

Eligible employees

As mentioned, employees are eligible for ESST if they work at least 80 hours yearly for a Minnesota employer. It is important to note that independent contractors are exempt from this law. Also excluded are building and construction industry employees who are represented by a building and construction trades labor organization if a valid waiver of these requirements is provided in a collective bargaining agreement. However, the law includes temporary and part-time employees within its terms.

The ESST law is not just a mandate – it is a way to bring about change. By giving paid leave to all eligible workers, this law shows Minnesota’s promise to create a work environment that cares about its workers. Under this law, employees accumulate one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, with an annual cap of 48 hours, unless the employer opts to allocate a more substantial allowance.

Established 100 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A., ranks among the oldest and one of the largest law practices in central Minnesota. The full-service law firm has growing legal teams in the areas of employment law, business law, government law, insurance defense, trust and estate planning, and general litigation. Learn more at