Minnesota Business Owner-Employers Take Note!

Minnesota’s New Wage Theft Laws Mean Changes for Earning Statements, Record Keeping, etc.

Updates to Minnesota’s wage theft laws went into effect on July 1, 2019. The Legislature amended the state’s existing labor laws to prevent wage theft and provide new wage and hour requirements, protections, and sanctions. Here is a summary of a few key provisions in the new laws. Note that these are in addition to the requirements in effect prior to July 1, 2019.

• Two changes to the Minnesota Statute Section 181.032 (Required Statement of Earnings by Employer), that will impact Minnesota employers:

1) Updated Earnings Statements (paystubs) Requirements
The earnings statements (i.e., paystubs) that must be provided by employers to employees at the end of each pay period must now include:

(i) the rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or other method;
(ii) allowances, if any, claimed pursuant to permitted meals and lodging;
(iii) the physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address if different; and
(iv) the telephone number of the employer.

2) New Written Notice Requirement
In addition to adding information that must be included on paystubs, there is now an entirely new notice to employees that is required under Section 181.032. This notice must contain several pieces of information including:

(i) the rate of pay and basis thereof
(ii) allowances
(iii) paid time off accruals and terms of use
(iv) the employee’s exempt or non-exempt status
(v) a list of deductions that may be made from the employee’s pay
(vi) the number of days in a pay period (vii) when the employee will receive the first payment of wages earned
(viii) the legal and operating name, address and phone number of the employer.

This written notice must be signed by both the employee and the employer and contain a statement in multiple languages that employees may request the notice be provided in a language other than English.

Beginning July 1, 2019, in addition to providing this written notice at the start of employment, the employer must also provide all employees, no matter their employment date, with a written notice of any of the changes to the information contained in the notice before those changes take effect.

• Under the new laws, there are additional records that employers must keep for three years, per the amendments to Section 177.30 of the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (Keeping Records; Penalty).  These additional records now include:

(i) a list of personnel policies provided to the employee, including the date the policy was given and a brief description of the policy.
(ii) The new written notice under Section 181.032 (discussed above). Note that any written changes to that notice must also be retained in the employer’s records.

• The new laws also provide that Commissions Earned by an employee must be paid in full by the employer at least once every three months per an amendment to the Minnesota Statute Section 181.101 (Wages; How Often Paid).

The wage theft laws also include new or increased investigative authority and civil and criminal penalties to help give the new requirements teeth:

1) A new subdivision has been added to Minnesota Statute Section 177.45 (Attorney General Enforcement) which prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who asserts rights or remedies under certain labor and wage payment laws in Minnesota, including the amended laws outlined above. A violation of the retaliation prohibition carries a civil penalty of $700 to $3,000 for each violation (without limiting any other remedies available).

2) Minnesota’s commissioner of labor and industry now has increased investigative powers to facilitate enforcement of labor and wage laws, including the authority to enter and inspect places of employment, to obtain an inspection order in district court to compel entry into a place of employment, and to interview even non-management employees in private regarding its investigation. The commissioner is also now required to share enforcement action information with other agencies and licensing and regulatory authorities to which the employer is subject.

3) “Wage theft” has been added to the criminal definition of “theft” under Minnesota’s criminal code, making it subject to the same penalties and sanctions as criminal theft, including imprisonment.

This list is not exhaustive and supplements the remedies already available to the commissioner and attorney general.

Our firm can help assure your compliance with Minnesota’s wage theft laws. Whether it is preparing the new required notice or reviewing the information included on your paystubs, the attorneys at Sanford, Pierson, Thone & Strean, PLC are ready to assist you.  Contact us via email or via phone at 952-404-2100.