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Minnesota: July 1, 2019 Changes to Employer Recordkeeping and Wage Theft Statutes

By Heather Bredeson - Seaton, Peters & Revnew, P.A.

June 25, 2019

On June 24, 2019, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) published guidance about Minnesota’s new statutory amendments regarding employer recordkeeping and wage theft.  DOLI’s guidance can be found on its website.  The new requirements (commonly being called the “Wage Theft Law”) are part of an omnibus bill that amends current statutes to add additional recordkeeping and paystub requirements for employers, as well as criminal penalties for wage theft committed with an intent to defraud.  All provisions go into effect July 1, 2019, except for the criminal wage theft provisions, which go into effect August 1, 2019.  Under existing law, employers are required to keep various records for three years.  The Wage Theft Law requires the following additional records be kept by an employer:

•    Each employee’s hours worked each day and each workweek, including, for all employees paid at piece rate, the number of pieces completed at each piece rate.
•    A list of personnel policies with brief descriptions of each policy that were provided to each employee, including the date the policies were given to the employee.
•    A copy of the new notice that is required to be provided to and signed by each employee at the start of employment and a copy of any written changes to the notice that were provided to each employee.  The notice must contain required information about an employee’s employment status and terms of employment.  DOLI has provided an example notice, which can be found on its website.  The notice must also include a statement, in multiple languages, that informs employees they may request the notice be provided to them in another language.  (DOLI will be providing the translations of this statement on the employee notice example in the near future).

The records must either be kept at the place where employees are working or kept in a manner that allows the employer to comply with the commissioner’s demand for inspection within 72 hours.  If records maintained by the employer do not provide sufficient information to determine the exact amount of back wages due, DOLI has the statutory authority to make a determination of wages due based on available evidence.
 
The statutory amendments also add earnings statement (paystub) requirements.  Existing state law requires earning statements be provided to employees in writing or by electronic means at the end of each pay period with specific information included on the earnings statement.  The amendments will now require the following additional information be included on the earnings statements:

•    Employee’s rate or rates of pay and basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other method.
•    Allowances claimed for permitted meals and lodging.
•    Employer’s telephone number.
•    Physical address of the employer’s main office or principal place of business and a mailing address, if different.

The simplest way to conform to the new recordkeeping requirements will be to implement a revised employee handbook containing all policies and have each employee sign the revised handbook, with the table of contents attached to the acknowledgment page.  Employers who have previously had several different policies, some within a handbook and some free standing, will want to move to the single handbook format.  Employers should start using the notice provided on DOLI’s website, or create their own that includes the required information, and provide a copy to each new hire, with their specific rate of pay, to sign at the start of employment.  If there are any changes to the information contained in the notice, employers must notify the employee in writing prior to the date the change takes effect.  Examples include change in rate of pay, change in exempt status, change in PTO accrual rates, etc.  Employers should also review their earnings statements with their payroll providers to make sure they comply with the new requirements.

If you have questions regarding labor or employment issues, please contact Heather Bredeson (952 921-4624 or hbredeson@seatonlaw.com) or any other attorney at Seaton, Peters & Revnew, P.A.

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