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Minnesota employees have enhanced parental leave options beyond what the federal FMLA provides. Additionally, all Minnesota employers must provide paid time off to allow workers to vote and unpaid leave for jury duty.

State law also provides paid leave for state employees to perform disaster services work or to donate bone marrow or organs.

Parental leave

While all employers with 50 or more employees are subject to the federal FMLA, Minnesota employers with 21 or more employees must also comply with the Minnesota Parental Leave Act (MPLA).

The law provides up to six weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child (placement of foster children isn’t covered).

To qualify for MPLA leave, employees must have worked for the employer for one year and averaged at least one-half the full-time equivalent for their job classification during the previous year. An employee may choose when to begin the leave within six weeks of the child’s birth or adoption.

Employers must adopt “reasonable” policies toward parental leave. And, as with the federal FMLA, you must maintain existing health benefits, if any, while employees are on MPLA leave.

Additionally, the law entitles employees to take up to 16 hours per year of unpaid leave to attend their children’s school activities and teacher conferences.

Voting leave

Minnesota employees of voting age are entitled to sufficient time off to vote on Election Day mornings. Employers that violate the law face misdemeanor charges.

Jury duty leave

In Minnesota, it’s illegal for employers to punish employees who are summoned for jury service. While you needn’t pay employees during jury duty, you must consistently apply your pay policies to all employees summoned as jurors.

Employers are entitled to prior notice, although the law is silent on how early an employee must inform you of receiving a jury summons. It’s a good idea to include jury duty in your employee handbook to clarify when and how employees should give notice.

Caution: Employers that punish workers for serving on a jury may end up in court themselves. Violators can be held in criminal contempt of court, and employees may sue for up to six weeks’ worth of wages.

Disaster services leave

Public employees who are also American Red Cross-certified disaster services workers may take up to 15 days’ paid leave per year to perform disaster services work for the Red Cross.

Bone marrow and organ donation leave

Public employees may take up to 40 hours of paid leave for each organ or bone marrow donation. The 40 hours need not be continuous. Employers may require verification of the need for time off before approving it.

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