The Land of 10,000 Lakes is the latest state to launch a paid family and medical leave program. Beginning in 2026, Minnesota employers will be responsible for handling payroll deductions for the new Minnesota paid family leave program.
The upcoming MN paid family leave means employers and employees pay into a state fund. The fund doles out paid family and medical leave benefits so employees can take time off for events like bonding with a new child.
Minnesota paid family leave: What to know
Minnesota’s paid family and medical leave (PFML) program was signed into law on May 25, 2023, making MN the 12th state to offer paid leave. Unlike some states with paid family leave, Minnesota’s PFML program applies to all employers, regardless of size.
Look at some common questions and answers about the state’s paid family and medical leave program.
1. Is this the same as the Earned Sick and Safe Time law?
The Minnesota PFML program differs from the state’s Earned Sick and Safe Time law. The Earned Sick and Safe Time law, which takes effect on January 1, 2024, is a paid sick leave law—not a paid family and medical leave law.
Under Minnesota’s sick pay law, employees earn one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked. Employers must provide this paid time off to employees who are sick, need to care for a sick family member, or need assistance following a domestic abuse situation.
Under Minnesota’s upcoming paid family and medical leave law, employers and employees pay a premium rate each payroll, and the state handles leave benefits.
2. When does the MN paid family leave program start?
The Minnesota family leave program begins on January 1, 2026. Begin handling payroll deductions on this date. Employees can also start taking leave and receiving benefits on January 1, 2026.
3. Do employers or employees pay?
Both employees and employers contribute to the Minnesota paid family leave fund through payroll deductions and contributions.
Employers can deduct up to half of the contribution rate from employee wages. Employers are responsible for paying the remaining amount.
4. What is the contribution rate?
The contribution rate is 0.7% of an employee’s wages. The 0.7% rate can be split evenly between employers (0.35%) and employees (0.35%).
Let’s say an employee’s biweekly pay is $2,000. The total contribution to the Minnesota paid family leave program would be $14 ($2,000 X 0.007). You can withhold up to $7 from the employee’s wages.
5. Can employers provide paid family leave through a private plan?
Do you have a private plan that is at least as generous as the state program? You can apply to the commissioner to use your private plan instead of the state PFML program. You must pay a private plan approval and oversight fee to the state.
In some cases, you may have a private family benefit plan, a private medical benefit plan, or both. So, what does it mean if you only have an approved private plan of one leave type (i.e., family or medical)?
- If you only have a private family leave plan, you must pay into the state medical leave program. The contribution rate is 0.4% for the state medical leave program.
- If you only have a private medical leave plan, you must pay into the state family leave program. The contribution rate is 0.3% for the state family leave program.
6. Which employees qualify for paid family leave MN?
All employees are eligible for leave if they have earned wages of at least 5.3% of the state’s average annual wage (rounded down to the next lower $100) during the base period.
According to the state website, this means that all employees who have earned more than about $3,500 in wages (currently) in the state during a year are eligible.
7. What are the qualifying reasons for paid leave?
Under Minnesota’s PFML program, employees can take family or medical leave if they meet specific requirements.
Employees can use Minnesota paid family and medical leave to:
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition
- Bond with a new baby or child in the family
- Deal with a personal serious health condition that prevents work
- Support a family member in the military deploying overseas
- Deal with a significant personal safety issue that the employee or a family member is facing
Employees can take up to 12 weeks of work per year for a single qualifying medical or family leave event. If an employee has a medical and family event in the same claim year, they can take up to 20 weeks of combined leave.
8. What do employers need to do?
In addition to contributing at least half of the payroll tax rate, you have a few other responsibilities related to the MN paid family leave.
Take a look at the following employer responsibilities and deadlines for each:
- Submit a wage detail report: Beginning in mid-2024, detail employees’ quarterly wages and hours worked.
- Notify employees: Beginning in late 2025, inform your team about the PFML program. The state will provide more information on this notice.
- Submit premium payments: Beginning in January 2026, you must submit collected and contributed Minnesota paid family leave premiums.
Minnesota family leave recap
Although you have time before the Minnesota paid family leave program officially launches, consider using this time to prepare. Here’s a rundown of the must-know facts about the new bill:
- Payroll contributions begin January 1, 2026
- The total contribution rate is 0.7% of employee wages. Employers can deduct a maximum of 0.35% from employee wages and must contribute the rest
- The bill applies to all employers in Minnesota
- Eligible employees receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a single qualifying medical or family leave event, or up to 20 weeks of combined medical and family leave
- Minnesota family leave and medical leave program lets employees care for themselves, a child, or a family member in certain situations
- Employers must submit a wage detail report starting in mid-2024, notify employees about the program in late 2025, and submit premium payments starting in January 2026
MN paid family leave bill: More information
Refer to the Minnesota Employment and Economic Development website for more information on the upcoming Minnesota paid family leave program.
For a bit of light reading, you can view the full Minnesota paid family leave bill here.
Don’t want to manually handle paid family leave calculations, filings, and deposits? Sign up for reliable payroll services that handle paid family leave contributions on your behalf! Get your free trial of Patriot’s Full Service Payroll today.This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.