Minnesota Enacts Sweeping Revisions to Wage-and-Hour Laws to Combat Wage Theft

Nilan Johnson Lewis PA
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The Minnesota legislature recently enacted sweeping revisions to the state’s wage-and-hour laws to combat “wage theft.” The revisions are wide-ranging. The key takeaways are:

Effective July 1, 2019, employers face more onerous notice and recordkeeping requirements, including the obligation to:

  • Provide employees “at the start of employment” a wage notice which includes a wide range of information, including details regarding the employees’ wages, deductions, and vacation/PTO.
  • Obtain employees’ signatures on the notices and retain copies of the notices.
  • Provide an updated notice whenever any information on the original notice changes (e.g., if an employee receives additional vacation days, the employee must receive a new notice).
  • Pay all non-commissioned earnings at least every 31 days and all earned commissions at least every three months.
  • Include on earnings statements the basis of pay, allowances for meals or lodging, and the employer’s address and phone number.
  • Maintain a list of personnel policies—not just those relating to the payment of wages—provided to each employee, a brief description of the policies, and the dates provided to the employee.

Effective August 1, 2019, employers will be criminally liable for various wage violations, including failing to pay wages required by law.

Significantly, we read the new law to require wage notices and updated wage notices to be provided to new employees only, i.e., those hired on or after July 1, 2019. However, an aggressive plaintiffs’ firm could argue that wage notices must be provided to current employees. The Minnesota Department of Labor has issued preliminary guidance regarding the new law that is available here, but it does not address this issue. A risk-averse employer, therefore, may wish to issue wage notices to current employees.

The new law is complex, will affect almost every Minnesota employer, and, for many employers, may require significant work to come into compliance with the civil provisions by July 1, 2019. We have prepared a more detailed summary of the main provisions of the law which is available here.

In light of the short timeline, we recommend that employers take the following steps:

  • Create wage notice templates.
  • Create a process for providing wage notices and updated wage notice at required times.
  • Contact your payroll vendor and HRIS vendors regarding required updates to earnings statements.
  • Review your pay practices to ensure that all earnings other than commissions are paid once every 31 days and that earned commissions are paid at least once every three months.
  • Review commission plans regarding payment timing and the provisions for when a commission is considered to be earned.
  • Create a system for tracking the personnel policies provided to each employee.

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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