Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST)-FAQs

The onslaught of new employment related laws in Minnesota has kept our phone lines pretty busy! Many of the new laws took effect January 1-but employers are still scrambling to determine how the law applies to them. So let’s address some of the common questions we’re getting:


What exactly IS earned sick and safe time?

ESST (Earned Sick and Safe Time) is paid leave employers must provide to employees in Minnesota that can be used for certain reasons, including when an employee is sick, to care for a sick family member or to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. ESST must be paid at the same hourly rate an employee earns when they are working.

Who is eligible?

An employee is eligible for ESST if they:

  • work at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in MN
  • are not an independent contractor

Temporary and part-time employees are eligible for ESST.

How do you accrue and use ESST?

  • Employees can accrue at least one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked, unless an employer front loads ESST hours as allowed by law.
  • ESST begins accruing on the first day of work and employees are allowed to use ESST as it accrues.
  • Employers must allow an employee to accrue at least 48 hours of ESST to the net year up to a maximum accrual of at least 80 ESST hours.
  • Employers can require documentation from employees with ESST used for more than three consecutive days.

What can you use ESST for?

ESST can be used for reasons that include:

  • The mental or physical illness, treatment or preventative care of an employee or their family member;
  • Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of an employee or their family member;
  • Closure of an employee’s workplace due to weather or public emergency or closure of their family member’s school or care facility due to weather or public emergency.

In 2024 consulting with an employment law attorney is not just a precautionary measure, it’s a strategic business decision to safeguard the interests of both employers and employees. As you navigate the complex and ever-changing laws, a proactive approach to legal compliance becomes paramount in fostering a workplace that values the well-being of its workforce.

Wagner, Falconer & Judd offers a number of ways to partner with us for all your business needs. Reach out to us today for a consultation, or visit our Support Services page to learn more about our offerings.