2024 Legislative Changes Heavy on HR Issues - Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (2024)

Legal and Legislation Updates

June 28, 2024

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2024 Legislative Changes Heavy on HR Issues - Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (1)

During the 2024 session, the Minnesota Legislature passed and Governor Tim Walz signed a number of new state laws and changes to existing laws that affect MCIT members, many of them in the area of employment. Members are encouraged to review any policies that may be affected by these changes and contact legal counsel if they have questions.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 110, art. 7, § 2; Minn. Stat. § 181.173

In job postings, employers with 30 or more employees in Minnesota, including counties and other governmental subdivisions, will be required to disclose the starting salary range (i.e., minimum and maximum annual salary or hourly range) and a general description of benefits and other compensation.

  • The salary range may not be open ended.
  • If the employer does not plan to offer a salary range for the position, the employer must include a fixed pay rate.
  • This requirement takes effect Jan. 1, 2025.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 110, art. 7, § 4 and Ch. 121, § 28

Beginning Aug. 1, employers will be able to request or require oral fluid testing when drug and alcohol testing or cannabis testing of an employee or job applicant is authorized under Minnesota Statutes, Section 181.951.

Oral fluid testing uses a saliva sample to detect the presence of drugs, alcohol, cannabis or their metabolites. The testing may be used as an alternative to using the services of a testing laboratory.

The employee must be informed of the test results at the time of the oral fluid test. If the test is positive, inconclusive or invalid, the employee or job applicant may request within 48 hours of drug or alcohol testing or cannabis testing the use of the services of a testing laboratory at no cost to the employee or applicant.

Changes have already gone into effect related to reasonable suspicion testing under Minnesota Statutes, Section 181.951, subdivision 5. Employers can now request or require cannabis testing and drug and alcohol testing if the employer has reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of cannabis. The law previously stated testing could be required if there were reasonable suspicion that the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol but did not include cannabis.

Reminder: An employer must have a written testing policy that complies with statutory requirements before it can request or require drug and alcohol or cannabis testing.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 127, art. 11

Changes to ESST laws are already in effect, except as noted. Members are encouraged to review and update any policies that may be affected by these changes as soon as possible.

The definition of “employee” was modified, clarifying that an employee includes a person who the employer anticipates will work in Minnesota for at least 80 hours in a year. These roles are now explicitly excluded from the definition:

  • Elected officials
  • Volunteer and paid on-call firefighters
  • Volunteer and paid on-call ambulance personnel

Eligible uses for ESST were expanded to include leave:

  • To make arrangements for or to attend funeral services or a memorial
  • To address financial or legal matters that arise after a family member’s death

All employees could previously use ESST for closures due to weather events or other public emergencies, but as of July 1, certain employees can no longer use ESST for weather events and public emergencies, including law enforcement officers and public employees with a CDL if statutory requirements are met (Minn. Stat. § 181.9447, subd. 12).

How employers communicate the amount of ESST hours available and used to employees was adjusted:

  • Effective July 1, employers are no longer required to provide the total number of ESST hours accrued and available for use and the total number of ESST hours used during the pay period on each employee’s earnings statement. Instead, employers may now use an alternate method to inform employees, either electronically or in writing.
  • The employer can choose a reasonable system for providing this information, including on earnings statements or through an electronic system.
  • If the information is provided electronically, employees must have access to an employer-owned computer during their regular work hours to review and print. These records must be maintained for three years and must be available to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry upon demand.

References to ESST leave being paid at the same “hourly rate” were changed to refer to the leave being paid at the same “base rate,” and a definition of “base rate” was added. This change should help clarify what rate of pay an employee will receive when using ESST leave.

ESST may now be used in the same increment of time that the employee is paid, with a 15-minute minimum increment and a four-hour maximum increment. The law previously allowed ESST to be used in the smallest increment of time tracked by the employer’s payroll system.

The documentation provisions were modified. An employer may now require reasonable documentation to support the leave when an employee uses ESST for more than three consecutive scheduled work days. The law previously required the employee to use ESST for three consecutive days before an employer could require documentation.

A new remedy provision was added that may apply if an employer does not provide ESST or does not allow employees to use ESST as required by the law.

  • The employer may be liable to all employees who were not provided or not allowed to use ESST for an amount equal to all ESST that should have been provided or could have been used, plus an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.

See ESST Changes Taking Effect Jan. 1 May Require Paid Leave Policy Adjustment for details about additional changes to ESST that take effect next year.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 127, art. 73

Although PFML does not take effect until 2026, the Legislature enacted several changes, such as those noted below:

  • Added language addressing situations in which an individual has multiple employers
  • Modified how PFML will work with other types of leave and disability insurance
  • Added a new section related to appeals
  • Included changes related to premium rates
  • Reduced premium rates for certain small employers
  • Added a new data privacy section

Provisions related to an employer electing to use a private plan were also modified, including requiring employers covered under a private plan to comply with quarterly wage reporting requirements and requiring coverage of benefits for former employees until the former employee is hired by a new employer or 26 weeks pass from the end of their employment.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 110, art. 2, § 9, 10, 11

Starting Aug. 1, employers are required to continue to maintain insurance coverage for an employee and any dependents if an employee takes leave as a pregnancy accommodation, under Minnesota Statutes Section 181.939, subdivision 2, or for pregnancy or parenting leave under Minnesota Statutes Section 181.941, provided the employee continues to pay any employee share of the costs.

The Pregnancy and Parenting Leave statute previously required the employer to continue to make insurance coverage available to the employee, but did not require the employer to pay the costs of the insurance while the employee was on leave.

An employee’s pregnancy or parenting leave under Minnesota Statutes Section 181.941 may no longer be reduced by any period of leave (paid or unpaid) taken for prenatal care medical appointments. So an employee may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid pregnancy or parenting leave, and that time may not be reduced by time the employee used to go to medical appointments for prenatal care.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 105

Beginning Aug. 1:

  • The definition of “disability” will explicitly include episodic disabilities.
  • The definition of “discriminate” will be updated to include harassment based on a protected class, and will no longer be limited to sexual harassment.
  • The definition of “familial status” will add that it also means “residing with and caring for one or more individuals who lack the ability to meet essential requirements of physical health, safety or self-care because the individual or individuals are unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions.”(Minn. Stat. § 363A.03, subd.18)
  • The provisions in Minnesota Statutes Section 363A.19 related to service animals in public places were modified to apply to all people with a disability. The statute previously applied to blind or deaf people and people with physical and sensory disabilities with a service animal. The limitation on the type of disability was removed.
  • Civil penalties and other remedies for violations of the Act were modified and take effect.

2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 123; Minn. Stat. § 16E.36

Beginning Dec.1, 2024, counties and other political subdivisions will be required to report cyber-security incidents to Minnesota IT Services or the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

  • The report must be made within 72 hours of when the government entity reasonably identifies or believes that a cyber-security incident has occurred.
  • There is no penalty for failing to report.
  • A reporting system will be developed by MNIT and the BCA, and instructions for submitting incident reports will be included on their websites.
  • In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Tyler v. Hennepin County, 143 S.Ct. 1369 (2023), reforms were made to the tax-forfeited property process (2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 127, art. 70).
  • Changes were made to laws prohibiting the misclassification of employees, including changes to the damages and penalties section (2024 Minn. Laws Ch. 127, art. 10).
  • Several bills were heard during the session that would have made changes to the Open Meeting Law, including a bill that would have modified the law to allow unlimited remote participation. However, none of the bills passed.
2024 Legislative Changes Heavy on HR Issues - Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (2024)
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