Reminder: Duluth, MN Passes Paid Sick Leave

January 08, 2020
Inside HR
Paid Sick Leave
Read time: 3 mins

On January 1, 2020, Duluth, Minnesota joined a growing list of state and local jurisdictions that now require private employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave. The city ordinance applies to employers within the city of Duluth with five or more employees nationwide.

Here’s an overview of the Duluth Paid Sick Leave ordinance requirements:

  • Duluth employees will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 50 hours worked. The number of hours of leave that can be used is capped at 40 hours per year, however an employee’s annual accrual is capped at 64 hours.
  • If an employer chooses to use the accrual method, employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick leave in the following year. Alternatively, employers will have the option of front-loading 40 hours of sick leave at the beginning of each year.
  • There is no minimum amount of time an employee must be employed before he or she is able to start accruing paid sick leave. However, an employee may not be able to use any earned paid sick leave until his or her 90th day of employment.
  • The sick leave can be used for physical and mental illness, to care for an ill or injured family member, to obtain services if the employee or a family member is a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, or stalking.
  • Employees will be required to comply with the employer’s usual notice and procedural requirements for absences or for requesting leave and to take leave in increments consistent with existing employer policies so long as the increment does not exceed four hours.
  • Employers may require documentation of the need for sick leave for absences lasting more than three consecutive days.
  • Employers will be required to provide notice to employees of their entitlement to paid sick leave.
  • Employers are prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against employees for using their paid sick leave. Employers also must not discipline, discharge, demote, suspend, or take any other adverse action against employees who are using their sick leave.

Key Takeaway
The new paid sick leave law for Duluth employers joins its neighbors in St. Paul and Minneapolis. MRA has a Mandatory Paid Sick Comparison Chart and Paid Sick Compliance Checklist to assist employers. In addition, the city of Duluth has a helpful website with employer resources, including a tracking tool, checklist, and required posting

Generally, employers with a PTO policy don't need to provide additional paid sick days to employees if their PTO policy:

  • Allows employees to use the same amount of leave for the same purposes and under the same conditions as required by the sick leave law; and
  • Satisfies the accrual, carryover, use, and other requirements of the sick leave law.

A single PTO policy can be an attractive option for employers that are subject to multiple paid sick leave laws, if it meets or exceeds the requirements of the most generous paid sick leave law. Employers who have questions about compliance with paid sick leave laws can contact our HR Hotline Advisors at 866-HR-Hotline (866-474-6854) or email at

Source: Michael Hyatt, HR Government Affairs Director, MRA – The Management Association