Sick and safe time, red flags and more: Minnesota’s new laws on January 1

New state’s workers’ rights laws

New state's workers' rights laws

A new year means some new laws.

More than a dozen new laws are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, impacting nearly all Minnesotans. They include things like guaranteed coverage for mammogram follow-ups, payday lender interest restrictions and limits on juvenile strip searches and isolation, and new minimum wages will also take effect.

Below are some other new laws you should know about.

Sick and Safe Time

Starting Monday, nearly all Minnesota workers will be guaranteed earned sick and safe time. That means every worker will get, at a minimum, one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours worked.

Accrued hours can be used to cover absences related to things like health treatment, caring for a sick family member, or an inability to go into the office due to a child’s school closure.

The law allows workers to accrue up to 48 hours of sick and safe time per year and applies to all businesses except independent contractors and those who spend a majority of time outside the state.

More information on the law is available here.

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Minnesotans will now be able to ask a court to prevent someone from having a gun if there is reason to believe the person is a danger to themselves or others.

More commonly known as a “red flag” law, the measure allows a chief law enforcement officer, city or county attorney, guardians, and members of a person’s family or household to petition a court and get a hearing within 14 days. If granted, the court can order someone to not have a gun for up to a year and can extend the initial order after another hearing.

Granted orders will require the respondent to give up their firearms within 24 hours to a licensed dealer or law enforcement agency.

However, the court has to find that a person poses an “immediate and present danger of either bodily harm to others or of taking their life” to grant an extreme risk protection order. It’s slightly different from Florida’s “red flag” law.

Menstrual Products in Schools

Schools now have to offer free menstrual products to students.

Under the law, districts have to make products like tampons and pads available in restrooms used regularly by students in grades 4 through 12.

It was part of a bill passed by lawmakers earlier this year that provides a big boost in education spending for the next biennium.

Special License Plates & DVS Updates

Minnesotans will be able to buy nine new specialty license plates in 2024, the most ever added in one year.

Six of the new plates will highlight Minnesota’s professional sports teams and benefit their respective charities; the blackout plate, which has become popular in other states, will support DVS operations; and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) Office and Lions Club International plates will send money to their respective accounts.

Official dates for the Wild, United, and MMIR plates to be released haven’t yet been set, but the others will be available starting Jan. 1.

The state now offers 123 different special plates. Click here to learn more about each one or see the designs.

Some other changes are aimed at improving DVS services, some of which have been plagued by delays and backlogs.

The state will be required to give real-time information on driver’s exam appointment availability and location, as well as the next dates and times for each exam station. Also, licensed programs can start offering online driver’s education courses in the coming year. And the Department of Public Safety commissioner will have to send a report to lawmakers by Jan. 15 on DVS operations, including plans for locations, schedules and staffing at driver exam stations and other possible changes to improve operations.

Worker Safety

Multiple new worker safety laws take effect on Monday.

Meat-processing plants have to implement new safety procedures focused on preventing worker injuries. Additionally, they’ll have to provide each worker with at least eight hours of safety training per year and at least two hours on the facility’s injury prevention program.

Third-party contractors working at the state’s oil refineries also have to follow new safety standards. The new law requires a percentage of workers to be graduates of or apprentices in a registered apprenticeship program to increase the percentage qualified as skilled and trained.

Pay History

Job applicants can no longer be asked about their pay history.

While they can still voluntarily provide that information to justify a higher-than-offered salary, the change aims to prevent companies from setting an applicant’s compensation based on previous pay and, instead, based on qualifications.

State officials say the new law will also help narrow the gender and racial pay gap.

It applies to all employers in the state and all employees, including full-time, part-time and those seeking an internal promotion or transfer. Violations can be reported online.

Tenant Rights

Changes to landlord and tenant relations also take effect Monday, covering things ranging from eviction notices to heat requirements.

The law includes provisions such as:

  • Landlords are required to provide heat of at least 68 degrees in residential dwellings between Oct. 1 and April 30 unless it’s above 60 degrees outside.
  • Landlords that allow animals can’t require them to be declawed or devocalized.
  • Landlord entry into residential units is restricted to being between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and must have at least 24 hours of notice.
  • Eviction actions alleging financial shortcomings must include a delivered letter to tenants, laying out what is owed and any rental rights and assistance they may be eligible for. Landlords then must wait 14 days to proceed with the eviction.
  • Emergency repair incidents are specified, including loss of running water or sanitary facilities, no heat or a broken refrigerator.

On Hold

One law that was scheduled to take effect on Monday but won’t is a ban on campaign contributions from “foreign investors.” That’s because it’s currently being challenged in court, and based on the initial argument, a federal judge found enough merit to the case to prevent the law from being enforced.

Of course, the court could allow the law to be enforced at a later time.

Proponents say it would’ve preserved voters’ power by limiting foreign influence while opponents say it prevents some organizations from exercising their free speech rights in connection with elections.

A more comprehensive list of new laws can be found here. And if you missed them, check out the laws that went into effect back in July and August.