Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law

Starting January 1st, 2024, a new law has been put into place in Minnesota. This law allows employees in Minnesota to have a more flexible way to use paid time off. On top of having regular paid time off, employees can acquire what is called Earned Sick and Safety Time (ESST) off. These hours of PTO can be used by Minnesota employees to care for themselves if they are sick, if a family member needs medical attention, and the uses extend far beyond that.

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) article about this new law, federal employees and independent contractors are the two main groups who are not covered by this law. For most people working in the state of Minnesota, the law applies whether they are part-time workers or full-time workers. Most people who work in the state and work a minimum of 80 hours in a year will be provided with ESST by their employer.

“Employers must provide each employee in Minnesota at least one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours of accrued ESST a year. An employee is anyone who works at least 80 hours in a year for an employer in Minnesota and is not an independent contractor,” The Minnesota DLI states.

With even part-time workers being included in this new law, many students at Winona State University are also earning ESST for their jobs. This is a huge step forward because in most places a worker must be hired full-time in order to earn benefits such as paid time off. Now, with the new ESST law, students who are employed will be able to acquire a form of paid time off that they can use for various reasons.

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These reasons could be if either they or a dependent are sick, if they are a victim of sexual assault or domestic abuse, and even if they are having struggles with their mental health. There are many more reasons why ESST could be used, making the time incredibly beneficial to a large group of workers in Winona.

First year composite materials engineering major, Delia Derner is a student working part time as a cook at Blooming Grounds. She believes that this law is very valuable to the people of Minnesota because employees should not have to work when they are sick or when a family member is ill simply because they ran out of paid time off.

“Having flexible absences is a good thing because sometimes life happens, and family emergencies happen, and it’s important to get time off for when those things happen. Especially when it’s things outside of their control,” Derner said.

Winona State has already begun implementing this new law that expands on the people who can receive sick leave as well as making how people can use sick leave more flexible. Meaning that many students with work study jobs on campus will now be making paid sick leave.

Interim President of Winona State, Kenneth Janz has already found Winona State gearing up to ensure that this law is being used and enforced. “I do know, it covers hourly student workers, professors, custodians, etc.  There are a few exceptions, but there are very few. All new and current employees are given notice.  It came into effect January 1, 2024.  So, Winona State has already implemented the law,” Janz said.

With Winona State already implementing the law, student workers at Winona State have now begun accruing ESST. This new law will let students earn paid sick leave that they weren’t getting prior to the creation and implementation of the Earned Sick and Safety Time Law. For many people this law will allow people to care for themselves and the others in their more effectively without fear of losing their job for needing to take care of personal and health issues.

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About the Contributor
Alayna Majkrzak, News Reporter
Alayna Majkrzak (she/they) is a first-year at Winona State University and is a news reporter here at The Winonan. Majkrzak is a CALT (Communication, Arts, and Literature Teaching) major and is minoring in theatre.   In their spare time, they enjoy crocheting, reading and writing. Though, all these activities are preferably done in a comfortable sweater while listening to their favorite playlist or watching Ghost Adventures. Back at home, Majkrzak was involved in their school newspaper for four years, and they are incredibly excited to continue their passion for honesty through journalism in college.  

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