The U.S. is far behind most developed countries in the amount of family and medical leave employees are allowed to take – even unpaid leave. Beginning on Jan. 1 of next year, Minnesota takes a step forward in requiring businesses in the state to provide paid leave to their employees.
This year, the legislature passed and the governor signed legislation that updates and expands the state’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law. This leave can be used for things like the following:
- An employee’s own illness (mental or physical) or that of a family member
- To get help if an employee or relative has been the victim of sexual or domestic abuse or stalking
- If a family member’s school or care facility is closed due to weather or other emergency conditions
- If an employee or family member has a communicable disease
Those considered family members for purposes of the law include children, spouses or partners, parents, grandparents, siblings and in-laws.
Knowing your rights is crucial
A few Minnesota cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul already have an ESST law in place. When the new state law takes effect, employers in those cities “must follow the ESST requirements most favorable to their employees.”
It’s important for all Minnesota employees to know their rights under the new law. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that every employer will know about or fully understand it. That’s more likely to be the case if you work for a small business where there’s no human resources department. Of course, it’s also important to know that you have the right to take unpaid leave if you need it under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
If you believe that your employer has wrongfully denied you time off to which you’re entitled or has retaliated against you for taking needed time off and you haven’t been able to resolve the issue with them, it’s a good idea to get legal guidance to better understand and protect your rights