Overview of Minnesota Family Leave Laws
The Minnesota Parental Leave Law was updated in 2004, but unfortunately many employers are still operating under the old leave guidelines. This can add up to costly fines and penalties under the law.
The purpose of this article is to provide a guide for business owners, HR managers, and Payroll Specialists around Minnesota’s Parental leave, Sick or Injured Child Care Act and School Conference and Activities Leave.
The Parental Leave Law provides up to 12 weeks, instead of the previous 6 weeks, of leave after a parent has a newborn or adopts a child. The purpose of the act is to provide employees of smaller companies leave time. Many covered employees are not eligible for the U.S. FMLA.
Sick or Injured Child Care Leave provides half-time and full time employees the right to take off accrued sick leave for the purposes of caring for a sick or injured child. It doesn’t mandate that employees provide sick leave, although both St Paul and Minneapolis have ordinances that do require sick leave benefits.
Rather, it requires that if an employee has sick leave available, that their employer allow them to use it to care for their children.
The School Conference and Activities Leave law provides protected unpaid leave of up to 16 hours a year for parents to attend educational activities of their children.
Minnesota Parental Leave Law: Similarity with the U.S. FMLA
The Parental Leave Law provides protected unpaid leave to employees for the purposes of bonding with their new child. The law covers employees of mid-sized business who employ between 21 or more employees at one location.
The law closely mirrors the Federal FMLA law and is meant to supplement the number of employees who can take bonding leave to be with a new child. While FMLA covers most employees of large companies, those with at least 50 employees within a 75 mile radius, Parental Leave law covers employees who work at least 20 hours a week on average and have worked for their employer at least 12 months previous to the leave.
FMLA requires that employees have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months to be eligible for FMLA leave. Unlike Parental Leave, FMLA does not require that the employees 12 months of employment be in the previous 12 months to the leave. However, if an employee did work for 12 months previous to their FMLA leave, the hours worked requirement would amount to an average of 24 hours each week.
Therefore Minnesota’s Parental Leave provides coverage to some part-time employees who would not have been eligible for FMLA leave. Conversely, FMLA will cover some employees who have not worked for 12 consecutive months with their employer and would not qualify for Parental leave, but do qualify for FMLA.
Parental leave Law: Allowable Reasons to Take Leave
Under Minnesota’s Parental Leave Law, both mothers and fathers can take up to 12 weeks of leave each year. Employees can take leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Leave must begin within 12 months of the child’s birth or adoption.
If the child is hospitalized longer than the mother, leave can begin within 12 months of when the child comes home from the hospital.
Parental leave can also be taken by the female employee for prenatal care, any incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related health conditions.
- To bond with a new child within 12 months of the child’s birth or adoption
- For prenatal care, incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth or other related health conditions.
Unlike FMLA, parental leave does not have provisions for children placed into the home through foster care. Parents who seek to take parental leave because of a new child placed in their home through foster care would only have protected leave if they qualify for the Federal FMLA leave.
Like FMLA leave, if both spouses work for the same employer the 12 weeks is split between both spouses.
Employees have the right to choose when their leave begins, but must provide reasonable notice to their employer
Minnesota Sick or Injured Child Leave
The Minnesota Sick or Injured Child Leave act actually covers more than just children for employee leave. The act doesn’t provide additional protected leave, but does govern any sick leave the employer grants and expands when the employee can use sick or paid time off.
The Sick or Injured Child Leave law allows employees to use any of their own personal sick leave to care for their child, including adult children, spouse, sibling, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent. Child includes any step, foster, biological, adopted or stepchildren. Grandchildren include any step, biological, adopted, and foster grandchildren.
- Child, adult child included, step, biological, foster, adopted.
- Parent, including parent-in-law, stepparent
- Grandchild, including step, biological, adopted, and foster grandchildren
Secondly, the law also allows employees to take their sick leave to use for safe day. Employees who are victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault can take time to receive assistance because of the violence.
- To care for a family member who is sick
- To receive assistance as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
Minnesota School Conferences and Activities Leave
Employees have up to 16 hours of unpaid, protected leave to attend school events, conferences, or other educational activities of their children who are in school or child-care.
Employees can use leave time to monitor services of their child’s program, or attend activities. Employees can use the leave as long as the activity cannot be attended during non-working hours.
Further, employees are required to provide reasonable notice to their employers.
Let SwipeClock Help
Businesses who have employees in Minnesota, New York, California, Vermont or 8 other states have to navigate between state family medical leave laws and the Federal FMLA. In addition many of those same businesses also have to navigate around local or state sick leave laws, advance scheduling laws and other conflicting local ordinances.
Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act, Affordable Care Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated June 24, 2017