Earned Sick and Safe Time

Minnesota Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) is paid leave employers must provide employees working in Minnesota. The University has chosen to extend this same paid leave to employees who work in states other than Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry identified specific situations when the time can be used including:

  • when an employee is sick
  • to care for a sick family member
  • to seek assistance if an employee or their family member has experienced domestic abuse
  • if there is a work or school closure due to weather or a public emergency that prevents an employee from being able to work
  • to care for a child or family member whose school or care facility is closed due to weather or a public emergency. 

ESST is offered in addition to the University’s traditional sick time program. Current sick time programs are not impacted by ESST.

How Hours Are Earned and Accessed



 

Table showing 1 hour worked earns 2 minutes ESST and 30 hours worked earns 1 hour

How to Request ESST in MyU

Frequently Asked Questions

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What can earned sick and safe time be used for?

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry recommends ESST be used for the following reasons:

  • the employee's mental or physical illness, treatment or preventive care
  • a family member's mental or physical illness, treatment or preventive care
  • absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of the employee or a family member
  • closure of the employee's workplace due to weather or public emergency or closure of a family member's school or care facility due to weather or public emergency that prevents an employee from being able to work
  • when determined by a health authority or health care professional that the employee or a family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease

ESST is offered in addition to the University’s traditional sick time program. Current sick time programs are not impacted by ESST.

What’s the difference between traditional sick time programs and ESST?

The traditional sick time programs offered by the University as part of an employee benefit package vary depending on the classification of the appointment (Civil Service, Labor-Represented, or Professional & Administrative). 

ESST is a state-mandated program in which every eligible person working in Minnesota accrues time at the same rate regardless of classification. Not all Minnesota employers are required to offer traditional sick time programs, but they are required to provide ESST to all eligible employees working in Minnesota. The University has chosen to extend this program to employees who work in states other than Minnesota. Employees begin accruing ESST the first hour they work and can access banked time once they reach the 80-hour requirement. 

For the University employees who earn traditional sick time, ESST is a separate bank of time that provides up to an additional 48 hours a year. For employees who do not qualify for traditional sick time (temporary, student workers, etc.), ESST allows them to take time off for certain sicknesses or emergencies without the loss of income.

I am an employee who lives outside of Minnesota, is ESST available to me?

The University has expanded the ESST benefit to all eligible employees, regardless of their state of residence. A system update is in progress and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2024. Once updated, employees who live outside of Minnesota will be given ESST credit for any time worked since January 1, 2024. Any ESST accruals will appear in MyU.

Who are recognized as family members?

Employees may use ESST to assist the following people:

  • their child, including foster child, adult child, legal ward, child for whom the employee is legal guardian or child to whom the employee stands or stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent)
  • their spouse or registered domestic partner
  • their sibling, stepsibling or foster sibling
  • their biological, adoptive or foster parent, stepparent or a person who stood in loco parentis (in place of a parent) when the employee was a minor child
  • their grandchild, foster grandchild or step-grandchild
  • a child of a sibling of the employee
  • a sibling of the parents of the employee
  • a child-in-law or sibling-in-law
  • any of the family members of an employee's spouse or registered domestic partner
  • any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship
  • up to one individual annually designated by the employee.

How do I designate my one non-family individual?

If an employee needs to use ESST to care for or assist a non-family individual, the employee will share the name of their non-family individual with their supervisor or other contact as determined by their college or unit. The designated non-family individual can be changed or renewed once per year.

If I leave the University of Minnesota and then later return, are my earned hours still available?

If an employee is rehired by the University of Minnesota within 180 days, the ESST balance at the time of their most recent termination will be reinstated when they are rehired. If an employee returns after the 180-day window, there is no reinstatement of previous balances of ESST. Employees begin accruing ESST the first hour they work in the state and can access banked time once they reach the 80-hour requirement.

If I leave the University of Minnesota, will my ESST be paid out to me like vacation?

No, this program is not a vacation program and ESST will not be paid out.

Can I use ESST during a weather emergency?

ESST can be used to cover scheduled hours that the employee is unable to work, either in person or remotely because the University has closed their workplace due to a weather or public health emergency. Note that the Administrative Policy: Campus and Building Closing also provides paid time off in some of these circumstances.

ESST does not include situations when an employee individually decides they do not want to work or commute due to weather.

If the University is closed due to a weather or other public emergency, can an essential employee use ESST?

An "essential" employee, as identified by the Administrative Policy: Campus and Building Closing Policy, who is required to work on campus cannot use ESST because the University is closed due to a weather or other public emergency. This is because, as an essential employee, the University does not close for that category of employee.

If the employee needs to access ESST when the University is closed due to a weather or other public emergency for one of the other reasons recognized in the policy (illness, childcare during a school emergency closure, etc.) In such cases, the essential employee could use ESST because they are accessing the benefit for a reason other than the University being closed due to weather or other public emergency.

Do I need to use all my sick time before accessing ESST?

No, absences that meet the criteria for use of ESST or paid sick time, the employee has the discretion to use whichever time bank they prefer.

Can employees donate ESST?

ESST cannot be donated to another employee. 

Can I use ESST before I earn it?

No, time can only be used once it has been earned. Employees start accruing ESST on their first day of employment, but cannot use the accrued ESST until they have worked 80 hours