Employers are often surprised to learn that employees may be terminated while on (or after) Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other type of protected leave. The key, however, is that there needs to be some sort of unrelated intervening event such as in the case of Naguib v. Trimark Hotel Corp. On September 12,

The U.S. Department of Labor’s August 28, 2018 Opinion Letter FMLA2018-1-A confirms that, in certain circumstances, an employer may “freeze” an employee’s attendance points during periods of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Attendance points are often used in a manufacturing or other settings when attendance is critical and HR needs a simple way to

On August 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued 6 new opinion letters, 2 related to the FMLA which has not occurred since 2009. While I’ll write about them separately, this is exciting news! The letters provide employers with compliance assistance related to the administration of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and

On April 12, 2018, the U.S. DOL issued Opinion Letter FLSA2018-19 regarding the compensability of frequent breaks. As the DOL notes, most employers provide employees a 20 minute (or less) paid break in the morning, a 30 minute (or more) unpaid lunch break, and 20 minute paid afternoon break. In this case, several employees had

Bridgestone_Potenza_F1_Rear_TireOn May 13, 2016, in Hernandez v. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals held that mandatory overtime hours may be deducted from an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, but similarly, mandatory overtime hours must be included when calculating total FMLA leave entitlement.  In other words, an employer can’t have its cake


On May 27, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, Title 2, Chapter 40 – Workplace Regulations.  The final Ordinance mandates unpaid sick and safe leave for employers with 1 to 5 employees, and paid sick and safe leave for employers with 6 or more employees. Notably, the final amendment includes not only the use for sick and safe care, but also school snow days.

Below is a quick overview of what the ordinance requires, who it applies to, what burdens employers have, and the implications of a violation. However, time will only tell how this plays out in reality.

What Does the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Require?

The Ordinance, effective July 1, 2017, requires employers to provide employees with paid/unpaid sick and safe time.  New employers (with 1 or more employees), will have 12 months to provide unpaid time off. After 12 months, new employers will be subject to the Ordinance in its totality (this 12 month delay will only be allowed for 5 years from the enactment).

Employees working in Minneapolis will accrue sick and safe time unpaid leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 worked, up to an annual cap of 48 hours (either calendar or fiscal year). Exempt (salaried) employees are deemed to work 40 hours each week unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours.  Employees must be allowed to use sick and safe time after 90 calendar days of employment.  Employers must permit an employee to carry over at least 80 hours of accrued but unused sick and safe time into the following year.

Additionally, sick and safe leave time need not be paid this time out at termination. Employees must be able to use the leave in the same increment of time consistent with current payroll practices and existing employer policies (but no more than 4 hours).  They must be compensated at the same hourly rate with the same benefits (except they are not entitled to lost tips or commissions and compensation is only required for the hours the employee was scheduled to work).

Who Is An “Employer” and “Employee” Under the Ordinance?

Does this Ordinance affect your business based in Eden Prairie or Alexandria?  It depends on whether you are a covered employer, defined below.  The Ordinance defines several terms with specificity, but here it is in a nutshell:
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Alton_National_CemeteryAs Memorial Day weekend arrives, I wanted to take a minute to remember those who have sacrificed themselves so that we may have many of the freedoms we take for granted today, such as the ability to write whatever we want on the internet.  In addition, I want to thank all the military spouses and families out there who have more strength than many of us know or can even appreciate.  So, we remember, and thank you.

This leads me to blog today about time off for military service, and time off to care for servicemembers in Minnesota.  Specifically, the FMLA was amended in 2008 to add two military family leave entitlements – (1) qualifying exigency leave; and (2) military caregiver leave.  I’ll touch briefly on both below.   As for my Friday Fun Fact…here it is, compliments of the History Channel: Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day in 1868 (to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers), and didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.

Who Is A “Covered Servicemember”?

A “covered servicemember” is someone who is: (1) a current member of the Armed Forces (including National Guard or Reserves); or (2) a veteran who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable at any time during the 5 year period prior to the first date the eligible employee takes FMLA leave to care for the veteran.Tammy_Duckworth_wheelchair

Who Is Eligible For Leave?

To be eligible for one of these FMLA military leaves, the employee must have worked for a covered employer (private company with 50 or more employees) for 12 months and at least 1,250 hours in the 12 month period prior to the leave.  Further, that employee must work at a location where the covered employer has at least 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite.

FMLA “Qualifying Exigency” Leave

The FMLA provides that when a spouse, parent, son or daughter who is a military member is deployed (or notified of impending deployment to a foreign country), an eligible employee may be entitled to an unpaid “qualifying exigency leave”.  
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