Both state and federal laws govern employment issues in Minnesota. Wage and hour laws, for example, set guidelines for matters including minimum wage, overtime and breaks given to employees. In order to maintain a good reputation and avoid unnecessary lawsuits, business owners should be familiar with these laws.
Minimum Wage in Minnesota
In Minnesota, the minimum wage varies depending on the size of the business. For large employers, which are any businesses with annual gross sales of $500,000 or more, the rate is $9 an hour, which will be raised to $9.50 an hour on Aug. 1, 2016. For small employers, or those with gross sales of less than $500,000, the rate is $7.25 an hour, which is also the federal rate, the 90-day training wage for people younger than 20 and the wage for people younger than 18. That wage will be raised to $7.75 an hour on Aug. 1, 2016.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Minnesota does not set a separate minimum wage for tipped workers and does not allow a tip credit. Therefore, these employees must be paid the minimum wage in addition to their tips.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: There are several types of employees who are exempt from receiving minimum wage. Those include the following: taxicab drivers, babysitters, people who volunteer for nonprofit organizations, people who provide police or fire protection, and people who are subject to certain U.S. Department of Transportation provisions.
A more comprehensive list of exemptions can be viewed at Minnesota’s minimum wage statute.
When Are Raises Required: There are no state or federal laws that require employers to give workers raises. These issues tend to be matters of negotiation between the employee and the employer.
Work Hours in Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act, no employee may work more than 48 hours in a week without receiving overtime pay. Federal law requires some businesses, such as those with gross annual sales of more than $500,000, to pay overtime to employees who work more than 40 hours a week.
Paying Overtime: A worker is eligible for overtime once he or she works more than 48 hours, or 40 hours if he or she meets federal standards. The overtime rate of pay is one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. There are some exemptions, including salaried professionals, people who earn commission and certain agricultural workers.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Minnesota is one of just a few states to require breaks for employees. Employers must provide reasonable restroom breaks for workers. Further, employees who work more than eight consecutive hours must be granted a meal break.
There is a federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires businesses to give mothers who are nursing a break to pump milk for the first year after the child’s birth. The employer must also give the woman a place to express milk other than a bathroom.
Paid Time Off and Sick Pay: No state or federal law requires employers to give workers sick or paid time off. However, employers must abide by any contractual agreements that govern how employees may be compensated for vacation or sick time.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: There is no notice of termination required in Minnesota. As an at-will state, an employee may be fired at any time and for any reason. However, if the employee requests a reason in writing within 15 days of termination, the employer has 10 working days from the receipt of the request to provide a truthful reason.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: Minnesota has a law in place that demands that businesses that are closing a plant or conducting a substantial layoff must give notice “as early as possible.”
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