Minnesota’s Upcoming Paid Family and Medical Leave

November 10, 2023

Minnesota continues to expand leave benefits for employees caring for themselves and family members. With the passage of earned sick and safe time and the increased eligibility for pregnancy and parenting leave, Minnesota created a paid family and medical leave (“MNFML”) benefits program. This article highlights quick facts about MNFML.

Beginning January 1, 2026, MNFML will provide eligible employees with the right to apply for job-protected paid leave for a serious health condition, family care leave, safety leave, and leave for a qualifying exigency. Leave may be taken intermittently (in certain circumstances), but in all cases MNFML leave shall be taken in minimum increments of 1 day. Employees must provide employers with at least 30 days’ advance notice of leave when the reason for leave is foreseeable. When leave is not foreseeable, employees shall provide notice as soon as practicable.

An employee’s total available leave will be capped at 20 workweeks per benefit year, but such time is divided amongst leave types in a formulaic fashion.

Type of Leave Leave Available is the Lesser of
Employee’s serious health
12 workweeks OR 12 workweeks
– all other MNFML taken
+ eight workweeks
Bonding, Safety leave,
Family care leave or
Qualifying exigency
12 workweeks OR 12 workweeks
– leave taken for serious health condition
+ eight workweeks

For example, if Jon takes 10 workweeks of leave for his serious health condition, he will have up to 10 workweeks of bonding leave1 available in the same benefit year. If Jon took only 5 workweeks of leave for his serious health condition, he could take 12 workweeks of bonding leave in the benefit year. 2 Employers may require MNFML leave to be taken concurrently with leave taken for the same purpose under Minnesota’s pregnancy and parenting leave law or federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

All employers, regardless of size and location, are required to provide the new leave to eligible employees engaged in covered employment. “Covered employment” means the performance of services for wages or under contract, but does not include self-employed individuals, independent contractors, or seasonable employees.3 An employee’s entire employment during a calendar year is “covered employment” if:

  1. 50 percent or more of the employment during the calendar year is performed in Minnesota;
  2. 50 percent or more of the employment during the calendar year is not performed in Minnesota or any other state, or Canada, but some of the employment is performed in Minnesota and the employee’s residence is in Minnesota during 50 percent or more of the calendar year; or
  3. 50 percent or more of the employment during the calendar year is not performed in Minnesota or any other state, or Canada, but the place from where the employee’s employment is controlled and directed is based in Minnesota.4

The compensation component of MNFML will be administered through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in a manner similar to the unemployment system, complete with application and appeals processes. This will be financed through tax premiums of 0.7% of employees’ taxable wages. Employers may require employees to share this expense by deducting up to 0.35% of the premium from employees’ wages. Eligibility requirements are set forth in Minn. Stat. § 268B.06, subd. 1. In addition to other requirements, the employee must have received wages for covered employment totaling an amount equal to or greater than 5.3% of Minnesota’s average annual wage (rounded to the next lower $100) during the base period.

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for taking MNFML leave or enforcing any rights or remedies they are entitled to under the law. Further, like Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law, it is unlawful for an employer to obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with an employee’s application for or receipt of MNFML leave benefits. In addition to other remedies, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry may impose a $1,000 to $10,000 penalty per violation of MNFML law against employers, with such penalties payable to aggrieved employees.

While the benefits will not become available until 2026, employers have obligations beginning as early as next year. In 2024, employers must submit wage reports providing the total hours worked and wages earned by each employee. Beginning November 1, 2025, employers must post required notices and individually notify each employee of the MNFML in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 268B.26.

1 Maximum bonding leave is the lesser of 12 workweeks or [12 workweeks – 10 workweeks Jon took for his serious health condition + 8 workweeks].

2 This amount is less than 15 workweeks (12 workweeks – 5 workweeks Jon took for his serious health condition + 8 workweeks).

3 Minn. Stat. § 268B.01, subd. 15(a), 35. Individuals that are self-employed, seasonal employees, or independent contracts may elect to participate in the MNFML program by purchasing their own coverage.

4 Minn. Stat. § 268B.01, subd. 15(b).

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