Under Minnesota law, an employer that allows an employee to take time off for their own injury or illness must also allow the employee to take time off to care for an ill or injured minor child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent or stepparent in the same manner the employer would allow an employee to use the leave for themselves.

Coverage applies to the following employees:

• Employees who have worked for the employer for at least 12 consecutive months
• Employees who worked at least half-time during those 12 months
• Employers that have 21 or more employees and
• Employers who offer personal sick leave benefits for absence from work due to an employee’s illness or injury

The law does not require that sick leave be paid leave. However, if the employer provides paid time off for the illness or injury of the worker, time off for the illness or injury of a family member must also be paid. If the employee has more than 160 hours of sick leave available during a 12-month period, the employer may limit the employee’s use of the sick leave for the illness or injury of family members other than a minor child to 160 hours. A “child” includes stepchildren and biological, adopted, and foster children. A “minor child” is a child younger than 18 years of age or a child younger than 20 who is still attending secondary school.

(M.S. §181.9413).

Under federal law, the FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to: 

• Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth; 
    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed  child within one year of placement; 
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; 
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a  covered military member on “covered active duty;” or 

• Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).