Effective August 1, 2013, Minnesota employers must allow an employee to use any sick leave benefits for “absences due to an illness of or injury to the employee's child, … adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent, for reasonable periods of time as the employee's attendance may be necessary, on the same terms upon which the employee is able to use sick leave benefits for the employee's own illness or injury.” See Minn.Stat. 181.9413(a). This is a significant change from the prior statute, which only permitted employees to use his/her sick leave benefits to care for their sick or injured children, who were either under the age of 18 or under the age of 20 if attending secondary school.

Under the amended statute, employers can limit the amount of sick leave benefits due to an illness or injury of an adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent to no less than 160 hours in any 12-month period. But, no limitation can be imposed for the use of sick leave benefits due to the illness or injury of the employee’s child, which includes a step child, and biological, adopted and foster child.

The amended statute applies to only employers with 21 or more employees at least one site, and applies only to accrued and available sick leave benefits paid to employees. It does not include short- or long-term disability benefits or other salary continuation benefits.