Minnesota law previously provided that an employee receiving sick leave benefits could use that time to care for a sick child, but it did not extend to other relatives. Under the new law, an employee may use sick leave benefits provided by the employer for absences due to illness or injury not only for the employee's child, but also for the employee's adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee's own illness or injury. The full text of the revised statute may be found here.
The new law does allow an employer to limit an employee's use of sick leave benefits for absences due to illness or injury of the employee's adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent, though this limit can be no less than 160 hours in any 12-month period, and does not apply to absences due to illness or injury of an employee's child.
Employers should review their sick leave benefits policies and make necessary revisions to ensure compliance with the revised law. Employers may alternatively consider replacing sick leave policies with more general paid time off ("PTO") policies, which could be drafted in such a way as to encompass sick leave. Employers should evaluate the potential economic and administrative impact this law change would have on existing policies and procedures, and consider whether it makes sense to adopt a broader PTO policy.