Paid Time Off (PTO) in Minnesota
Vacation Leave Quota
Minnesota law requires 0 vacation days.
No federal or state law requires employers in Minnesota to provide paid or unpaid vacation time for their employees. However, employers often choose to provide vacation benefits as it is one of the most desired perks for employees. So, if an employer chooses to offer vacation leave to their employees, paid or unpaid, it must comply with applicable state law, established policy, or employment contract.
Accruals are not mandatory in Minnesota but are frequently used by businesses.
The accrual system is usually based on the payroll frequency. The most common pay periods in Minnesota are bi-monthly and monthly.
Employers may place a reasonable cap (limit) on the number of vacation hours employees can accrue, as long as employees have consented to the policy in writing or by signing contracts.
Roll Over (Carry Over, Brought Forward)
A Use-It-or-Lose-It policy is allowed.
An employer can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a specific date if employees are informed in writing. This means that after a certain date (usually the end of the year), employees forfeit any unused vacation time.
Statutory Provisions Addressing Vacation Pay
Earned vacation time is considered wages when an organization has established policies or precedents for paying employees for this time.
Paid time off or vacation pay is considered “wages” for the purposes of wage payment if the employer grants it.
Employers and employees are free to agree on the terms under which employees receive accrued vacation wages as paid time off or a payment.
Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination
The amount of vacation pay is determined by the employer’s policy.
The state of Minnesota doesn’t require employers to provide PTO payout at termination. However, the employer’s policy determines which benefits are due.
An employer has the right to create a policy or sign a contract that prohibits employees from receiving payment for accrued vacation leave upon termination of employment. Additionally, an employer may legitimately create a policy or sign a contract that forbids employees from receiving accrued vacation pay upon termination if they don’t adhere to certain conditions, such as providing two weeks’ notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year.
Only if a policy or contract stipulates it, an employer must reimburse an employee for accrued vacation time upon separation from employment.
Neither the Minnesota Legislature nor its courts have stated whether an employer must pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the subject.
An employer must pay accrued, unused vacation on termination if company policy or contract demands it.
Sick Leave in Minnesota
Federal law requires 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave. Additional paid sick leave laws in the 3 largest cities: Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Employers must comply with both local and statewide law where it applies.
Federal Laws – Leave Quota
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to all the states in the U.S.A. FMLA entitles qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks off for personal medical reasons, to care for a close family member suffering from a severe illness, or for maternity/paternity leave. The leave is job-protected.
Employees qualify for FMLA benefits if they:
- have been working for their employer for at least 12 months (at least 25 hours per week) or 1,250 hours in the previous year
- work in a location where at least 50 people are employed by the company (in a 75-mile radius)
Employers are free to propose additional sick leave benefits that are better than the minimum federal requirement.
Check out our article on FMLA to learn more.
Minnesota State Laws
State law doesn’t require employers to provide sick leave, but three cities do: Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
There is no Minnesota state law requiring private employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave to their employees, though many do so as a standard employee benefit. However, sick leave laws have been enacted in three of Minnesota’s largest cities: Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul.
- Duluth Paid Sick Leave
Duluth’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)
This ordinance applies to all employers with 5 or more employees, and requires employers to allow employees who work within Duluth for more than 50 percent of the employee’s working time in 12 months to accrue paid sick leave time.
Employees who work in the city of Duluth are entitled to 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 50 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours per year. However, an employer may limit the use of paid sick time to 40 hours in a year.
Sick leave covers the following reasons:
- an employee’s or a family member’s illness, injury, or condition
- preventive care
- maternity or paternity leave
- reasons related to domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking.
(“Safety leave” is time off taken to provide or receive assistance as a result of sexual assault, domestic abuse, or stalking.)
Employers may require documentation of the need for sick leave if an employee is absent for more than 3 days in a row. Employers are required to provide notice to employees of their right to paid sick leave and other rights under the ordinance.
Payout: an employer.
- Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave
Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time
Employers with 6 or more employees must provide employees with paid leave. Employers with 5 or fewer employees must provide leave, but they can choose whether they want to pay for it or not.
All employees must work a total of 80 hours in the year before they are entitled to leave. All types of employees – including part-time, temporary, undocumented, or paid interns – are included.
Employees accrue sick and safe time at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrual may be capped at 48 hours per year, and an employer can place a maximum accrual cap of 80 hours. These two limits operate simultaneously. These limits may be higher if an employer chooses, but not lower.
Accrual is tracked per pay period or in a yearly lump sum (front-loading a lump sum of 48 hours for the first year of the employee’s employment and ensuring 80 hours are available at the beginning of every year thereafter).
Sick hours begin accruing on the first day of work. New hires may have to wait 90 calendar days before using sick time.
Sick leave covers the following reasons:
- Illness or injury
- Medical treatment
- Domestic, sexual assault, or stalking
- Care for a family member
Employers must post a required notice poster and inform employees how much leave they have available.
Payout: an employer.
- St. Paul Paid Sick Leave
Saint Paul’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)
All employers in Saint Paul with employees working in Saint Paul must provide earned sick and safe time to their employees.
All the rules from the city of Minneapolis apply here (read above), only there are no restrictions based on the number of employees.
Employers are required to provide protected sick leave to employees who do 80 or more hours of work in the city in a year. All types of employees – including full‐time, part‐time, temporary, or paid-on‐call employees – are included.
So, everything (entitled employees, accrual rate, frontloading permitted, sick leave uses, etc.) is the same as in the city of Minneapolis.
Payouts in Duluth, Minneapolis, and St. Paul
When an employee uses sick time, an employer must pay him or her at the same hourly rate that they would earn if they were working.
Maternity, Paternity, FMLA in Minnesota
12 weeks of unpaid maternity/paternity leave is provided by FMLA.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that mandates employers to provide at least 12 weeks of unpaid family leave following the birth or adoption of a child (maternity or paternity leave). Unless otherwise authorized by the employer, an employee must take this leave continuously. For more information about FMLA benefits, look above under the section Sick Leave in Minnesota: Federal Laws – Leave Quota.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) is yet another federal law that protects pregnant women. According to the PDA, discrimination against pregnant people is prohibited in all areas of employment: hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, fringe benefits, training, leave, and health insurance.
Additional State Laws in Minnesota
In addition to the FMLA and the PDA, Minnesota has the following laws regarding maternity leave:
The Minnesota Pregnancy and Parental Leave Act
Employers with 21 or more employees at one location are required to provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to pregnancy, childbirth, parental care, or any other related medical conditions. The parental leave is job-protected.
To be eligible for parental leave, an employee must have worked for the company for at least the following time periods:
- 12 months; and
- An average number of hours per week equal to one-half the hours required for a full-time equivalent position for a year.
Employees are allowed to take any sick leave, including safety leave, provided by the employer.
An employer must make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s health issues linked to pregnancy or childbirth.
Parents who take leave for purposes related to adoption have the same rights as biological parents.
Employees must provide reasonable notice before a leave (at least 30 days).
The Minnesota Human Rights Act was also introduced to protect against sex-based discrimination, including pregnancy, childbirth, and disabilities related to pregnancy or childbirth. The Act ensures that conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth are treated in the same way as any other disability.
Maternity leave in Minnesota is unpaid.
Bereavement Leave in Minnesota (Funeral Leave)
Employers in Minnesota aren’t required to give bereavement leave.
No federal or Minnesota law requires an employer to provide employees with paid or unpaid bereavement leave or any time off to attend an immediate family member’s funeral. An employer who decides to provide bereavement leave must follow the bereavement policy or practice they have in place.
Bereavement leave in Minnesota is unpaid.
Jury Duty Leave in Minnesota
Employers are required to provide employees with unpaid time off to perform their jury duties.
Employers are required to provide employees with unpaid, job-protected leave to perform their jury duty. Notice requirements apply; employees may have to show their employer their jury summons to be given the necessary leave.
An employer may not fire, threaten to fire, penalize, or punish the employee in any way due to their jury service.
The court pays:
Employees who serve as jurors in Minnesota are paid $20.00 a day and receive mileage reimbursement for travel (juror pay is a token amount).
The employer pays:
Employers in Minnesota are not required to pay employees for jury duty leave. (Leave may be paid or unpaid, at the employer’s discretion.) Labor union employees may be covered through their union contracts.
Military Leave in Minnesota
All employers in the U.S. must comply with USERRA. Additional state laws.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is a federal law, that applies to all employers in the U.S. USERRA protects Army and Air National Guard members, provides reinstatement rights, protection from discrimination, and unlimited unpaid leave for active duty.
Minnesota State Law
In addition to USERRA, Minnesota law provides employment protections for Minnesota and U.S. military members:
- Members of the National Guard are eligible for up to 4 years of unpaid leave to serve in the military on active duty when a state declares an emergency.
- Employers must provide up to 10 days of unpaid leave to an employee whose direct family member has been injured or killed while serving in the United States armed forces. A direct family member means a child, grandchild, parent, legal guardian, sibling, spouse, fiancé, or grandparent.
- Employers must provide up to 1 day of unpaid leave per calendar year to an employee who is an immediate family member of a member of the United States armed forces who has been ordered to active duty. This includes time off to attend a send-off or homecoming ceremony for the family member.
- Minnesota employers with 20 or more employees at one location must grant unpaid leave to serve as members of the Civil Air Patrol at the request of the state.
Employers may not fire an employee for military service, interfere with the employee’s military service, or threaten an employee’s job to discourage them from enlisting. This protection applies to employees who are members of the United States armed forces, the Minnesota military or naval forces, or any other state’s military or naval forces.
Military leave is unpaid.
Voting Leave in Minnesota
Employers are required to provide paid time off for workers to cast their ballots.
An employee has the right to take time off work to vote in all regularly scheduled local elections (municipal, county), as well as state and federal elections.
An employer must pay employees for the time they need to vote, if it falls within their scheduled work time. The law doesn’t specify a period of leave. An employee has the right to be absent for the time necessary to appear at a polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work. Leave is paid.
An employer can’t require an employee to use personal leave or vacation time. An employer who does not allow an employee to take required paid voting leave commits a misdemeanor.
An employer may not deduct from an employee’s salary or wages because of this absence.
Minnesota State Holidays for 2022
Minnesota law does not require private employers to provide employees with paid or unpaid holiday leave.
Private employers in Minnesota don’t have to provide paid or unpaid leave for holidays, like almost all states in the U.S.A. Private employers can require all employees to work on holidays. However, the majority of employers in Minnesota do provide several paid holidays.
Complete list of official holidays recognized and celebrated by the state of Minnesota in 2022:
|Saturday, January 1||New Year’s Day (Observed Friday, December 31, 2021.) *|
|Monday, January 17||Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (3rd Monday in January)|
|Monday, February 21||Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February)|
|Monday, May 30||Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)|
|Monday, July 4||Independence Day|
|Monday, September 5||Labor Day (1st Monday in September)|
|Friday, November 11||Veterans’ Day|
|Thursday, November 24||Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November)|
|Friday, November 25||Thanksgiving Friday|
|Sunday, December 25||Christmas Day (Observed Monday, December 26) *|
* Holidays that fall on Saturday are observed on Friday; holidays that fall on Sunday are observed on Monday.
- Minnesota Leave Laws, https://www.employmentlawhandbook.com/employment-and-labor-laws/states/minnesota/leave-laws/
- The Minnesota Labor Law Guide, https://joinhomebase.com/state-labor-laws/minnesota/
- Minnesota Payroll and Benefits Guide, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/united-states-minnesota/
- Minnesota Labor Laws Guide, https://clockify.me/state-labor-laws/minnesota-labor-law
- Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry – Workers Rights and Protections, https://www.dli.mn.gov/workers/worker-rights-and-protections
- Helpside – Employee Leave Laws by State, https://www.helpside.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Employee-Leave-Laws-by-State-Final.pdf
- Leave Laws by State and Municipality: 50-State Charts, https://www.xperthr.com/fifty-state-charts/leave-laws-by-state-and-municipality/20973/
Updated: October 28, 2022
Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.