Like employers in every state, Minnesota employers must follow the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for certain reasons. Once an employee’s FMLA leave is over, the employee has the right to be reinstated to his or her position.
Minnesota laws also give employees additional leave rights, as explained below. Employees are entitled to the protections of all applicable laws; if more than one law applies, the employee may use the most beneficial provisions.
Federal FMLA Rights
Employees in Minnesota who are eligible may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions, bonding with a new child, or preparation for a family member's military service; more leave is available for employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. For detailed information on FMLA leave, see Taking Family and Medical Leave.
Who Is Covered?
Minnesota employers are subject to the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:
- they have worked for the company for at least a year
- they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
- they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Reasons for Leave
FMLA leave is available if an employee needs time off to:
- recuperate from a serious health condition
- care for a family member with a serious health condition
- bond with a new child
- handle qualifying exigencies arising out of a family member’s military service, or
- care for a family member who suffered a serious injury during active duty in the military. (You can find more information on these last two types of leave in Military Family Leave for Employees.)
How Much Leave Is Available?
Minnesota employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave is available every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements explained above.
Employees may take up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave. However, this is a per-injury, per-service member entitlement. Unless the same family member is injured again, or another family member suffers an injury while on active duty, an employee may not take additional leave for this purpose.
Leave and Reinstatement Rights
Employees are entitled to continue their health insurance while on leave, at the same cost they must pay while working. FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may be allowed (or required) to use their accrued paid leave during FMLA leave.
When an employee’s FMLA leave ends, the employee is entitled to be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position, with a few exceptions.
Minnesota Family and Medical Leave Laws
In addition to the rights granted by the FMLA, Minnesota employees have the right, under state law, to take time off for family and medical reasons.
Minnesota Family and Medical Leave
Employers with at least 21 employees must allow eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks off for prenatal care, pregnancy, childbirth, and bonding with a new child. Bonding leave is available to biological and adoptive parents, but must be taken within 12 months of the child's birth or adoption. To be eligible for leave, the employee must have worked at least half-time for the employer for 12 months prior to the request for leave.
Military Family Leave in Minnesota
All employers must give time off to eligible employees who have a grandparent, parent, legal guardian, sibling, child, grandchild, spouse, or fiancé on active duty in these circumstances:
- Employees are entitled to take time off to attend a send-off or homecoming ceremony for the family member. Employees may take only the time necessary for the ceremony, up to one day per calendar year.
- Employees may take up to ten days off if a family member is injured or killed in active military service.
Minnesota Small Necessities Law
Employers with at least two employees must give eligible employees up to 16 hours of unpaid leave in any 12-month period to attend school conferences or other school-related activities for the employee’s child, if they cannot be rescheduled outside of work. Employers with 20 or more employees must provide up to 40 hours of paid leave to donate bone marrow.
For More Information
You can get more information on these laws at the website of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.