The Minnesota
labor law guide

The Minnesota employment laws every business owner should know

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Wages and breaks

Minnesota Minimum wage

Minnesota’s minimum-wage rates will be adjusted for inflation Jan. 1, 2024, to $10.85 an hour for large employers and $8.85 an hour for other state minimum wages.

Small-employer wage –  $8.85 an hour
90-day training wage (under 20 years of age) $8.85 an hour
Youth wage (under 18 years of age) $8.85 an hour

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Tipped min wage

Tipped employees must be paid the standard minimum wage rate.

Employers may not require employees to participate in a tip pool or sharing arrangement.

Employees may voluntarily share tips with other employees, but not under coercion.

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Minnesota Overtime

Non-exempt employees must be paid an overtime rate of 1 ½ times the regular rate of if they work more than 40 hours in one workweek, according to the US Department of Labor.

The federal labor law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

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Minnesota Meal breaks

Employers are required to provide sufficient restroom time, and employees who work 8 or more consecutive hours must be given enough time to eat a meal, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Breaks must be paid if they are less than 20 minutes in duration.

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Minnesota Rest breaks

Time to use the nearest restroom must be given every 4 hours.

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Final paychecks in Minnesota

Minnesota wage and hour laws require employers to pay employees all due wages within 24 hours if they are terminated or laid off.

If the employee was in charge of handling money or property of the employer, the employer has 10 days to audit and adjust the accounts of the employee before paying out the final wages.

If an employee quits, they must be paid all final wages by the next regularly scheduled payday.

If the next payday falls less than 5 days after the employee quits, the employer may pay the final wages on the second payday or within 20 days.

Minnesota child labor laws

Minors under the age of 16 may work up to 8 hours a day, 40 hours per week. Work is prohibited between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age have no hour restrictions, but may not work between the hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on school days (11:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. with parental permission).

Leave requirements

Minnesota Sick days

State law does not require employers to provide sick leave.

However, employers in the city of Minneapolis are required to provide protected sick leave to employees who do 80 or more hours of work in the city in a year. If the employer has six or more employees, the leave must be paid. If the employer has five or fewer employees, the leave may be unpaid.

Employers in the city of St. Paul are required to provide paid protected sick leave to employees who do 80 or more hours of work in the city in a year.

Employers in the city of Duluth must provide paid time off that is earned by employees whenever they work in Duluth – for every 50 hours worked, employees earn one hour of paid leave.

Minnesota medical and family leave

Employers may be required to provide employees unpaid leave in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Minnesota Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave

Employers that have 20 or more employees at at least one site must allow their employees to take up to 40 hours of paid leave to donate bone marrow and up to 40 hours of leave to donate an organ.

Minnesota Parental Leave

Employers that have 21 or more employees at one location are required to provide their employees with unpaid parental leave. Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the following reasons: the birth or adoption of a child; prenatal care; or incapacity because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related health conditions.

Minnesota School Activity and Conference Leave

Employers must allow their employees to take up to a total of 16 hours of leave during any 12-month period to attend school conferences or other school-related activities of their children or foster children, if the activities cannot be scheduled outside of normal working hours.

Minnesota vacation time

Employers are not required to provide vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.

Employers may establish a policy denying payment of accrued vacation upon separation from employment as long as there is a signed contract.

If there is a policy in place that says vacation time will be paid out upon separation of employment, it must be followed.

Employers may establish a policy disqualifying employees from receiving payment for accrued vacation upon separation from employment if they fail to comply with certain requirements.

Employers can implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their vacation time by a set date, as long as employees have been informed in writing.

Minnesota Jury duty leave

Employers do not have to pay employees for time spent responding to a jury summons, but employees cannot be terminated or otherwise penalized for doing so.

Minnesota Witness Leave

Employers must provide employees with leave to appear as a witness in a criminal proceeding in response to a subpoena or request from the prosecutor. Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking witness leave.

Minnesota Crime victim leave

Employers in must provide an employee who is the victim of a crime with leave to attend the criminal proceeding in response to a subpoena or request from the prosecutor. Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for taking crime victim leave.

If the employee or their spouse or immediate family member is the victim of a violent crime, employers must provide reasonable time off to attend criminal proceedings related to the victim’s case.

Minnesota holiday leave

Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays.

Minnesota Voting leave

Employers are required to provide paid time off for employees to vote.

Minnesota Bereavement Leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

Minnesota Military Leave

The federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) is applicable to all employers in the United States.

Minnesota Family of Injured Military Personnel Leave

Employers must provide up to ten days of unpaid leave to an employee whose immediate family member, as a member of the United States armed forces, has been injured or killed while engaged in active service. Immediate family member means a parent, child, grandparent, sibling, or spouse.

Hiring and firing

Minnesota Discrimination Laws

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

Additionally, the state of Minnesota prohibits discrimination based on the following: receipt of public assistance, marital status, local human rights commission activity, use of lawful consumable products off the premises and outside of work hours, and wage garnishment for consumer debt.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

Minnesota Termination Laws

Minnesota is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action.

Minnesota Record Keeping Laws

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.

Additional laws that may apply to you.

Minnesota Background check laws

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Minnesota requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees: Nursing home personnel; Home care personnel; Long-term health care personnel; School personnel; Passenger carriers; Managers of residential buildings; Those providing adult rehabilitative mental health services; Those with direct patient contact at hospitals, boarding care homes, outpatient surgical centers, or home care agencies; Those working or volunteering with children; Those working for a medical marijuana manufacturer; Private detectives or protective agents.

Minnesota Credit and Investigative Check laws

Employers may not obtain a credit report on an applicant or employee unless the comply with all the following requirements: Before requesting an applicant’s or employee’s credit report, clearly inform them in writing that the employer will obtain their credit report; Inform the applicant or employee that they have the right to request additional information on the nature of the report; Include a box on or with the job application for the applicant to check of they want to receive a copy of their credit report; If the applicant requests a copy of their credit report, ask the credit reporting agency to provide them a copy within 24 hours of providing the employer the report; Pay for any costs of obtaining the credit report without charging the applicant or employee.

Minnesota Ban-the-Box Law

Employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories until they are selected for an interview; if interviews are not conducted, employers may not ask until a conditional offer of employment has been extended. Employers may then consider conviction records, but should take into account the recency and relatedness of the crime to the position applied for. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights recommends that employers who inquire about criminal histories tell applicants that recency and relatedness will be considered; failure to do so would unnecessarily deter applicants.

Minnesota Whistleblower Protection

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for reporting in good faith an alleged violation of the law to the police or other public body. In addition, healthcare employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for reporting an alleged violation of the standard of care.

Minnesota COBRA

COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” Minnesota’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to 18 months. Employers must provide an employee with a notice of their COBRA rights within 14 days of the triggering event.

Minnesota Pay Practices

Employers must pay their employees at least once every 31 days on regular paydays the employer chooses in advance. However, migrant workers must be paid at least every 15 days.

School employers and employees may agree in writing to a different arrangement. Volunteer firefighters, first responders, ambulance drivers, and ambulance attendants may agree to longer intervals between paydays.

The payday for wages earned in the first half of the first 31-day period must be no later than the first regular payday after the first day of work. Newly hired employees need to be given a written notice including specific information about employer pay practices, and employers must keep a copy of the notice with the employee’s signed acknowledgment of receipt. Employees must also receive notice in writing in advance of any changes to those practices.

Here is the required information: The rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or other method, and the specific application of any additional rates; Allowances, if any, claimed pursuant to permitted meals and lodging; Paid vacation, sick time, or other paid time-off accruals and terms of use; The employee’s employment status and whether the employee is exempt from minimum wage, overtime, and other provisions of chapter 177, and on what basis; A list of deductions that may be made from the employee’s pay; The number of days in the pay period, the regularly scheduled pay day, and the pay day on which the employee will receive the first payment of wages earned; The legal name of the employer and the operating name of the employer if different from the legal name; The physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address if different; and The telephone number of the employer.

Minnesota Drug & Alcohol Testing laws

Employers that want to test their employees or applicants for drugs or alcohol must have a written policy that includes the following information: Which employees or job applicants are subject to testing under the policy; The circumstances under which drug or alcohol testing may be requested or required; The right of an employee or applicant to refuse to undergo drug and alcohol testing and the consequences of refusal; Any disciplinary or other adverse personnel action that may be taken based on a confirmatory test verifying a positive test result on an initial screening test; The right of an employee or applicant to explain a positive test result on a confirmatory test or request and pay for a confirmatory retest; and Any other appeal procedures available.

Employers may test employees or applicants only in the following circumstances: If a job offer has been made to the applicant and the same test is requested or required of all applicants conditionally offered employment for that position. The employer may withdraw the job offer only if both the initial and confirmatory test come back positive. If so, the employer must tell the applicant why they are withdrawing the job offer. As part of a routine physical examination but only if the drug or alcohol test is requested or required no more than once a year and the employee has been given at least two weeks’ written notice that a drug or alcohol test may be requested or required as part of the physical examination. On a random selection basis, but only if they are employed in safety-sensitive positions or they are employed as professional athletes and certain conditions are met.

During evaluation or treatment in a chemical dependency program and for up to two years after completing a treatment program. If the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee: is under the influence of drugs or alcohol; has violated the employer’s written work rules prohibiting the use, possession, sale, or transfer of drugs or alcohol while the employee is working, on the employer’s premises, or operating the employer’s vehicle, machinery, or equipment, as long as the work rules are in writing and contained in the employer’s written drug and alcohol testing policy; has sustained a personal injury or has injured another employee; or has caused a work-related accident or was operating or helping to operate machinery, equipment, or vehicles involved in a work-related accident.

Minneapolis Freelance Workers Protection Ordinance

Employers who hire freelancers in Minneapolis must have the agreement confirmed in writing. Employers are also prohibited from refusing to pay a freelancer as the contract states, or demand that the freelancer take a lower pay rate than was previously agreed on.

Compliance Calendar

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This summary is not qualified legal advice. Laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros.