Minnesota Labor Laws

Minnesota Labor Law Breaks

All Minnesota employees have a right to a reasonable amount of rest for each consecutive four-hour shift they perform, as stated by statute 177.253. This means that for every four hours that you work, you must receive a break at some point throughout that time. In Minnesota, the timing of the break is left to the employer’s (and employee’s) choice, thus it can happen at the start or conclusion of the workday, but one must be taken.

According to Minnesota Statute 177.254, employers must give you enough time to eat a meal for each successive eight-hour shift you work. According to this regulation, any eight-hour period during which an employee is clocked in from the start of the shift to its conclusion must allow them enough time to sit down and eat. By law, employers are not permitted to forbid their staff from eating. Each employer, however, is free to decide whether employees can take a longer lunch break to buy food or whether they must carry their lunch to eat it in a sufficient break time on the job site. The sole hard-and-fast rule is that employees may have and consume meals during this period.

Minnesota Holiday Laws

Despite popular belief, no federal law states that employees be required to have holidays off from work. Employers are also not required to allow employees to be paid for holidays. Minnesota also does not have a law in regard to holiday payment or time off. Some companies or businesses may allow employees to have holidays off but are not required to pay them for that time. However, some companies do pay their employees for holidays and vacation days.

Federal law states that a company or business may legally be open three hundred sixty-five days of the year. Through this law, employees are often required to work on holidays, especially if their employer provides a public service. These include the fire department, hospitals, elderly care facilities, and the police department. Retail stores, supermarkets, and other businesses are often also open every day of the year. No federal or Minnesota state law requires employers to pay those working on holidays extra or give any special benefit for the holiday. Some employers may choose to provide this service at their own discretion.

Federal holidays also do not imply that all employees will have a holiday off. Federal holidays are for government agencies and the postal service.

Minimum Wage

In 2009 the federal minimum wage increased to seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour. This required all states to increase their previous minimum wages to at least this minimum amount. Minnesota thus changes its minimum wage from six dollars and fifteen cents to the federal minimum. Often times the federal minimum will increase each year, which will require Minnesota to again increase its wages. Employees who receive tips on a regular basis may be paid less than the minimum rate as their tips normally make up for their decreased wages.

The 2007 Fair Minimum Wage Act required the federal wage to increase a total of two dollars and ten cents once implemented. Any companies or businesses that do not pay their employees this minimum rate will be prosecuted for breaking federal law. This requirement however does not apply to companies that have less than fifty employees or who bring in less than five hundred thousand dollars in yearly revenues. Businesses also are not required to have minimum wage requirements unless interstate commerce is transacted.

Maternity Leave

Minnesota has set maternity leave laws through the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act. Under this Minnesota act, an employee is legally required to take a leave of absence from work in order to care for a new child and not worry that his or her employment will be terminated. Under this law, a company or business is required to have a minimum of twenty-one employees in order for any medical leave to be mandatory.

Educational institutions do not have this requirement. Unlike other states that have twelve weeks maximum of leave, Minnesota instead has a normal six weeks of maternity leave. Employers have the right to increase this leave but cannot decrease the amount for any reason. These weeks must be taken consecutively and not spread among varying months of time.

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