Minnesota’s New Paid Leave Program

Effective January 1, 2026, Minnesota’s new paid leave law will take effect, administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Paid Leave Division. The program mandates paid time off for eligible employees, for qualified medical and family leave. In this article, we briefly explore Eligibility and Funding of the program, the Benefit Structure, and Employer Responsibilities. Please note that the first deadline for employers for initial reporting is due later this year on October 31, 2024.

Eligibility and Funding

Employees qualify for paid leave after earning over $3,500 in wages within Minnesota annually. A payroll tax increase will fund the program, with premiums currently set at 0.7% of taxable wages and capped at the social security wage base. Premium collection begins on January 1, 2026, with employers having the option to split the premium with employees. Employers may charge a maximum of half the premium (or 0.35%) to their employees through a wage deduction.

Benefit Structure

The program offers up to 12 weeks of leave for a single qualifying event and up to 20 weeks for multiple qualifying events within a year.  Qualifying events include medical leave for pregnancy or recovery, family bonding, caregiving, safety leave, and support for family members in the military or facing personal safety issues. The benefits of the program are divided into two categories: Medical Leave and Other Types of Leave. Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks in each category per benefit year, with a total maximum of 20 weeks.

Employer Responsibilities

Covered organizations under the MN Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program will automatically have their accounts converted into joint UI/Paid Leave accounts. Those not covered by UI will need to register for a Paid Leave account through the UI online system in the summer of 2024, with the first wage reports due on October 31, 2024. Initial premiums for paid leave are due on April 30, 2026. It is also the responsibility of the employer to notify their employees about the new program by late 2025.

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