It isn’t often that we get to update our audience so quickly on developments in legislation, but the Minnesota Senate acted quickly this week on Paid Family Leave for workers in Minnesota. While it is not as expansive as originally proposed by the House, it will have a major impact on employers, beginning in July 2025, pending the Governor’s signature.
Last week we discussed the number of weeks and workers who were included in the act. The number of weeks an employee is eligible for leave throughout the course of the year has been reduced from up to 24 weeks in a year to no more than 20 weeks. Eligible employees can take 12 weeks of paid medical leave per year, and they can take 12 weeks of paid family leave per year. They cannot, however, take a combined leave of more than 20 weeks during a year. So, for instance, if an employee is out for 12 weeks on paid medical leave, they can only be out eight weeks for paid family leave.
In addition to reducing the number of weeks of leave, the Senate also eliminated seasonal workers (who are employed for no more than 150 days during a 52-week period) from eligibility for the leave. For multi-state employers, employees who do not spend the majority of their time performing work in Minnesota will not be eligible for the leave.
This is an incredibly robust program that will involve a lot of coordination between employers and the state (specifically the Department of Employment and Economic Development, which is running the program). We have a lot of time leading up to when this program is implemented in 2025, but employers will have to start planning now in order to have the money necessary to pay their premiums for participation in the state’s program (or the creation of their own leave program that provides equivalent benefits to employees). All employers with covered employees will also need to plan for additional paid absences and making up for the lost human resources available to them on an annual basis.
In addition, those employers with organized labor units will need to plan on how they will implement the state’s plan and coordinate it with benefits that have already been provided. It will be an employer’s management right to determine whether it will participate in the state’s program or run its own version of the program, but the impacts of that decision will need to be negotiated. If you, or your organization, need assistance with implementing a new paid family leave plan with your employees, contact Wiley Reber Law, for legal advice that works.