Duluth, Minnesota Amends Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance



The mayor of Duluth, Minnesota recently signed File # 21-023-O, which, effective August 19, 2021, broadens covered uses of leave under the Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Ordinance, and amends employer notice and enforcement provisions.  When the amendments take effect:

  • Employees will be able to use leave when they lose work hours when their place of employment closes for public health reasons (a covered use with particular meaning during COVID-19). Other pre-existing reasons employees can use leave include illness, injury, or health condition (and diagnosis, care, or treatment thereof), preventive medical care, and for reasons connected to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • If employers maintain an employee handbook, it will need to include a copy of the company’s ESST policy or, if the employer uses a substantially equivalent paid leave benefit to comply with the ordinance (e.g., PTO), a copy of that paid leave policy.
  • Employers must either display or provide the city-created poster to employees or provide a company-created notice that advises employees of their rights under the ordinance. The amendments allow employers to comply with this notice requirement by providing new employees a copy of their ESST or substantially equivalent paid leave policy.
  • In addition to other legal or equitable relief available, the city will be able to order employers to provide employees with written notice of a violation and the corrective action taken.

Before August 19, employers should review their paid time off policies to ensure they comply with the ordinance and, if they maintain an employee handbook, ensure the policy is included. Employers that need a refresher on the Duluth ordinance should read our previous articles about the ordinance and corresponding rules. Additionally, they should monitor the city’s ESST webpage for updates to the rules, or to the generally-applicable or COVID-specific FAQ the city publishes.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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