An employer is not required to provide its employees with vacation benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide such benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
An employer may lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract denying employees payment for accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment. See Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. S.Ct. 2007).
An employer may also lawfully establish a policy or enter into a contract disqualifying employees from payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with specific requirements, such as giving two weeks notice or being employed as of a specific date of the year. See Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. S.Ct. 2007).
An employer is required to pay accrued vacation to an employee upon separation from employment if its policy or contract requires it. See Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. S.Ct. 2007).
Neither Minnesota’s Legislature nor its courts have stated whether an employer is required to pay accrued vacation leave upon separation from employment if the employer’s established policy or employment contract is silent on the matter.
An employer may cap the amount of vacation leave an employee may accrue over time, so long as employees have signed contracts or written statements agreeing to the policy. See Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. S.Ct. 2007).
An employer would likely be able to implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy requiring employees to use their leave by a set date or lose it, so long as the employee has agreed to the policy in writing. See Lee v. Fresenius Medical Care, Inc., 741 N.W.2d 117 (Minn. S.Ct. 2007).
Minnesota law does not require employers to provide employees with sick leave benefits, either paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
If an employer with 21 or more employees provides employees personal sick leave, it must allow eligible employees to use their accrued sick leave:
- to care for themselves or a sick or injured family members
- for safety leave for themselves or a family member
Employers may restrict eligible employees to employees who:
- worked for at least 12 months preceding the request to use sick leave
- during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave, worked an equal to one-half the full-time equivalent position in the employee’s job classification as defined by the employer’s personnel policies or practices or pursuant to the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement.
For purpose of sick leave, family members include which include a:
- child including adult child, stepchild and a biological, adopted, and foster child.
- grandchild include step-grandchild and a biological, adopted, and foster grandchild.
Safety leave is leave for the purpose of providing or receiving assistance because of:
- domestic abuse (MN Statute 518B.01)
- sexual assault (MN Statute 609.342 to 609.3453 or 609.352)
- harassment (MN Statute 609.749)
- stalking (MN Statute 609.749)
Employers who provide sick leave to its employees may limit use of sick or safety leave to 160 hours in a 12-month period for family members except for children.
An employer in Minnesota may be required to provide an employee unpaid sick leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act or other federal laws. An employer is also required to comply with Minnesota’s Parental Leave Act.
Minnesota law does not require private employers to provide employees with either paid or unpaid holiday leave. In Minnesota, a private employer can require an employee to work holidays. A private employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under standard overtime laws. Minnesota Dept. of Labor & Industry FAQ If an employer chooses to provide either paid or unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.
Visit our Minnesota State Holidays page for a list of holidays recognized and observed by the state of Minnesota as well as information regarding state laws governing holiday leave for public employers and employees.
Jury Duty Leave
An employer is not required to pay an employee any wages for time spent complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.
An employer may not discharge, threaten, coerce, or penalize an employee for complying with a jury summons or serving on a jury.
Minnesota law requires employers to permit employees to take off, with pay, the time needed to vote in an election. An “election” is specifically defined as “a regularly scheduled state primary or general election, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of United States senator or United States representative, an election to fill a vacancy in the office of state senator or state representative, or a presidential nomination primary under chapter 207A.” An employer that does not permit an employee to take paid voting leave as required commits a misdemeanor. MN Statute 204C.04
Minnesota law does not require employers to provide employees bereavement leave or leave to attend funerals. Bereavement leave is leave that is taken by an employee due to the death of another individual, usually a close relative. Employers may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice they maintain.
Minnesota Family and Medical Leave
Under Minnesota law, any employer with at least 21 employees must allow all eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks off for pregnancy, childbirth, bonding with a new child, and prenatal care.
There is also a bonding leave for adoptive and biological parents, although this must be taken within 12 months of adoption or a child’s birth. The employee must have worked at least half time for the employer for at least one year before the leave request to be eligible for this Minnesota family and medical leave.
Small Necessities Law
Minnesota also has a small necessity law. Any employer with at least two employees must provide eligible employees up to 16 hours of unpaid leave within a year to attend school conferences or any other school-related activities concerning the employee’s child if the activities cannot be scheduled outside work hours. In addition, if an employer in Minnesota has 20 employees or more, they must also provide up to 40 hours of paid leave to donate bone marrow for medical reasons.
Family Military Leave
Employers in Minnesota must provide time off to all eligible employees who have a legal guardian, sibling, child, grandchild, spouse, fiancé, parent, or grandparent who is on active duty and qualifies under the following circumstances.
- Employees may take up to 10 days off if there is a family member who has been killed or injured during active military service.
- Employees can take time off to attend a homecoming ceremony or a sendoff for a military member leaving or returning from deployment. Employees are, however, allowed to take time off for the ceremony, and this can only be up to one day every calendar year.