In Minnesota, there are labor laws that are intended to protect the rights of employees. In order to understand how these laws protect their rights, employees should read them carefully. Labor laws also inform employees as to how they can notify the proper authorities when their rights are being violated.

What Is Part-Time vs. Full-Time in Minnesota?

Minnesota is like most states in that it does not designate a distinction between part-time or full-time employment. However, the state does have a “work week” that is defined as a fixed time period of 168 hours split up between 7 days. If you wish to find out if you are a full-time or part-time employee, you should contact your company’s HR department.

What Is the Minimum Wage in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s minimum wage is $9.50 per hour for large employers, which are companies that make a gross revenue of $500,000 or more per year. Minimum wage is $7.75 per hour for small employers with less than $500,000 in annual gross revenue. In 2018, the rates will increase to compensate for inflation.

Minnesota does not allow companies to pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage because of tips. Tipped employees must be paid the same minimum wage as everyone else. For employees under the age of 20, the minimum wage is $7.75 per hour for the first 90 days of training. For all employees under 18 years of age, the minimum wage is $7.75 per hour.   

Overtime

Minnesota allows overtime pay for any hours worked over 48 hours in one week. The rate is 1 and ½ times the regular hourly rate. They also do not limit mandatory overtime, meaning that an employer can demand that an employee to work for however long they want the employee to work.

Health Benefits

Certain employers in Minnesota are required to adhere to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under the ACA, any employer that has more than 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance. This plan must cover at least 60% of typical health costs and must be offered to at least 95% of a company’s full-time employees. Any company with fewer than 50 full-time employees can choose to not offer insurance to any of its employees.

Discrimination

In Minnesota, employees are protected from being discriminated against by the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, and the federal Civil Rights Act.  The federal laws prohibit discrimination against an employee for their race, age, national origin, religion, color, disability, and gender. The Minnesota Human Rights Act goes father than federal law and prohibits discrimination involving an employee’s creed, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, status with regard to membership or activity in a local commission, and status with regard to public assistance.

Any employee who has been discriminated against by their employers can file a complaint with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), depending on whether state or federal law was violated. However, they must adhere to strict deadlines with regard to filing a complaint.

Time Off

Usually, employers are only subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which only covers employees that are employed by companies that have 50 or more employees and conduct business in multiple states. Under FMLA, an employee is has the right to receive up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, receive any typical medical and health benefits that their employer offers to working employees, and return to their job when their 12 weeks are up.

However, Minnesota has its own state law with regard to medical leave and family leave. While FMLA and the state law are very similar, there is one key difference. In Minnesota, you are eligible for leave if the company has at least 21 employees. Since this is a lower threshold than required by federal law, more employers are required to provide leave to their employees than if they were only subject to federal law.

Minnesota does not require companies to pay their employees when those 12 weeks of sick leave is taken.  Thus, it is at a company’s discretion if they choose to offer paid leave.

Where Can I Find a Local Employment Lawyer to Help Me?

It is difficult to assert your rights as an employee when your employer violates those rights. If you are concerned that your employer is violating your rights, then contact a Minnesota employment lawyer immediately.