Compliance Watch:
What are my rights as a salaried employee in Minnesota?

April 5th 2024

Gaining a thorough grasp of your rights as a salaried employee in Minnesota goes beyond a mere familiarity with legalities. It serves as an empowerment tool for you as a salaried worker and can also function as a way to safeguard yourself within the workplace.

As you commit yourself to your daily work obligations, the compensation provided by your employer plays a pivotal role in shaping your professional standing. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the specifics of these arrangements can differ significantly from one U.S. state to another.

This article aims to provide a clear understanding of your employment rights and to guide you towards a more informed and self-assured professional journey.

This Article Covers

Defining a Salaried Employee in Minnesota
Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Minnesota
Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Minnesota
Wage and Hour Regulations in Minnesota
Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Minnesota
Taking Action Against Violations in Minnesota
Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Minnesota

Defining a Salaried Employee in Minnesota

What is Salaried Employment in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, a salaried employee is someone who regularly receives a fixed amount of compensation from their employer. Employers in Minnesota are required to pay their salaried employees on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, regardless of their weekly hours worked.

Salaried employment in Minnesota can be categorized based on eligibility for overtime. The first category includes salaried employees with exempt status, such as professionals, executives, and administrative personnel. These employees are not eligible for overtime pay and receive the same compensation regardless of their weekly hours worked, even if they exceed 48 hours. On the other hand, non-exempt employees in Minnesota are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked beyond 48 in a work week.

What are the Key Differences Between Salaried and Hourly Employees in Minnesota?

Aspect Salaried Employees Hourly Employees
Minimum Wage Laws Employees are paid a fixed amount regardless of hours worked. Subject to the minimum wage in Minnesota of $10.85/hour. 
Overtime Laws Overtime eligibility varies. Workers are classified as exempt under FLSA for certain positions. Entitled to 1.5 times the regular wage for any time worked over 48 hours/week
Paid Sick Leave & FMLA Salaried pay may include sick leave; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid sick leave and use it with unpaid FMLA leave.
Paid Vacation Salaried pay may include vacation; specifics vary by employer. May earn paid vacation based on hours worked and employer policies.
Maternity/Paternity Leave May have unpaid provisions. The duration and specifics of leave vary by agreement with the employer. No guaranteed paid leave. Leave terms depend on the employer’s policies.
Job Security Salaried employees typically enjoy more job security. Less job security and stability as salaried employees.

These are some of the general differences between salaried and hourly employees in Minnesota, but it’s important to remember that specific employment conditions may vary based on individual circumstances and employer policies. To learn more about Minnesota Labor Laws,  you can access our guides on your rights as an hourly employee in Minnesota and Minnesota salaried employees laws.

Common Questions About Salaried Employee Rights in Minnesota

What are the Basic Rights of Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

  • Salaried workers in Minnesota falling within the non-exempt category are entitled to receive the state’s minimum wage.
  • Minnesota’s salaried workforce is subject to federal regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).
  • Non-exempt salaried employees are eligible to receive overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage for any hours worked beyond 48 hours in a single workweek.
  • Qualified Minnesota employees have the privilege of taking unpaid leave for specific medical and family-related reasons under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Workers in Minnesota are safeguarded against workplace discrimination based on various characteristics, including disability, national origin, ancestry, race, color, religion, gender, and military veteran status.
  • Salaried employees have the entitlement to a workplace that adheres to safety standards outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), ensuring their well-being and access to necessary safety training.
  • Employers in Minnesota are required to provide reasonable accommodations to salaried employees with disabilities, allowing them to perform their job duties effectively and without discrimination, as mandated by state and federal disability laws.

Is Overtime Pay Applicable to Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

Yes. Certain salaried employees in Minnesota can still be eligible for overtime pay, although there are several exemptions from the overtime pay requirement.

An employee’s salaried status is determined by their actual job duties, not just their job title. Both federal and state laws have specific criteria to determine whether an employee is exempt from overtime regulations. The criteria includes the following: 

  • Professionals: Possessing advanced knowledge and expertise accumulated through years of experience, which they employ to oversee departments within the organization.
  • Executives: Employees who possess advanced knowledge and expertise. They also have authority over hiring and firing decisions.
  • Computer Employees: Roles that require specific skills and knowledge, like software engineers, computer programmers, or analysts.
  • Administrative Employees: Roles in accounting, quality control, human resources, personnel management, or labor relations.
  • Highly-compensated Employees: The employees are typically office-based. Earning a total annual compensation of $107,432.

Learn more about Minnesota overtime laws.

Can Employers Deduct Wages from Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, employees are not permitted to deduct wages from salaried employees, unless it has been mandated by law. Additionally, wage deductions would require employers to obtain written consent from the employee beforehand. Without this consent, deductions that are not stipulated by law are considered illegal.

According to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, costs for uniforms and work necessities are the employer’s responsibility.

Are Salaried Employees Eligible for Breaks and Leaves in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act states that employees must be provided with sufficient time for meal breaks. Employers are also required to provide breastfeeding parents with a reasonable amount of time to express milk.

Minnesota offers two types of leaves for employees: required and non-required. Required Leaves include Family and Medical Leave, Military Leave, Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave, School Activity and Conference Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Witness Leave, and Voting Leave, with specific eligibility criteria and protections.

Non-required leaves refer to when employers may choose to offer sick days leave, vacation leave, holiday leave, or bereavement leave based on their policies and employment contracts, with no state-level regulations for holiday and bereavement leave.

Can Salaried Employees Request Flexible Work Arrangements in Minnesota?

Minnesota is committed to offering state agency workers flexible work arrangements that align with business requirements. This forms a key component of a strategy to attract and maintain a highly competent and talented workforce. Telecommuting offers a wide range of advantages to both state agencies and their staff, which include:

  • Granting employees the flexibility to carry out their duties from an approved alternative location while ensuring the delivery of high-quality services to the people of Minnesota.
  • Ensuring the smooth continuation of operations, even during health and safety crises that affect agency personnel.
  • Reducing the demand for office space and parking facilities.
  • Minimizing harm to the environment.
  • Drawing in and keeping skilled professionals from across the state and the surrounding region.

Understanding Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Status in Minnesota

What is the Definition and Implications of Exempt Status in Minnesota?

An exempt employee refers to an individual who is not entitled to receive overtime compensation for working more than 48 hours in a week. This classification applies to those who earn a minimum of $684 per week, and occupy specific job positions, such as executives, administrators, professionals, individuals in computer-related roles, or outside sales representatives.

Exempt employees do not have the right to receive overtime pay, even if they work more than 48 hours in a week. Employers need to have a thorough understanding of both the FLSA and Minnesota labor laws to ensure compliance. Misclassifying employees can lead to costly wage disputes and legal repercussions.

What are the Differences Between Exempt and Non-Exempt Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

Aspect Exempt Employees Non-exempt Employees
Overtime Generally not eligible for overtime pay. Eligible for overtime pay for working over 48 hours per week. Entitled rate of one-and-a-half times the standard hourly wage.
Pay Structure Paid on a salary basis. Paid hourly.
Monitoring Hours Not expected to track hours worked. Expected to track and report hours worked
Employee Type Employees who hold white-collar positions such as those in managerial or professional roles. Job roles vary but may include blue-collar workers, skilled tradesmen, clerical staff, or retail employees.
Compensation Exempt employees typically earn more due to their positions and skills. These workers receive an hourly rate with flexibility in scheduling.
Stability Stable paycheck and benefit eligibility. Varied hours, potentially unstable.
Paid Time Off May qualify for paid vacation or sick time. Typically, they are not eligible for paid time off.
Benefits and Perks Depending on their employment agreement, workers might enjoy extra perks like paid time off, bonuses, or other incentives. Eligible for accrued sick leave.

How to Determine if You're Exempt or Non-Exempt in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, determining whether you are classified as exempt or non-exempt involves evaluating three fundamental criteria:

  • Salary Threshold Test: If your annual salary exceeds $35,568, you may be eligible for an exempt classification.
  • Salary Basis Examination: Qualification for exempt status can also occur if you receive a guaranteed minimum compensation, regardless of the actual hours you work.
  • Duties Assessment: Beyond the salary considerations, you must also perform job duties falling within specific exempt categories. These duties encompass executive responsibilities, such as supervising two or more employees as a regular part of your job; professional duties, which involve engaging in intellectual activities requiring specialized education and the exercise of discretion and judgment; and administrative duties, which entail carrying out supportive tasks related to significant matters, demanding discretion and judgment.

Wage and Hour Regulations in Minnesota

What are the Minimum Wage Requirements for Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s minimum wage stands at $10.85 for businesses with annual revenues exceeding $500,000. For businesses that earn revenue less than $500,000 annually, the minimum wage for employees stands at $8.85. Since Minnesota’s minimum wage surpasses the federal minimum, all workers are eligible for the higher rate.

Employees below the age of 18, who are hired as trainees, are entitled to a minimum wage of $8.85 for the first 90 days of employment. Further, employees who are hired full-time as minors have the right to a minimum wage of $8.85 as well. 

How is Overtime Compensated for Salaried Employees in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, salaried employees who are not exempt from overtime rules are eligible for extra pay under specific conditions. To qualify for overtime compensation, these employees must work at least 48 hours within a seven-day workweek. According to state law, any additional hours worked beyond this threshold will be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular hourly wage.

It’s important to note that federal regulations require certain employers to provide overtime pay for hours worked beyond 48 hours per week, regardless of Minnesota’s state law, which sets the threshold at 48 hours.

Deductions, Benefits, and Protections in Minnesota

What are the Permissible Deductions from Salaried Employee Pay in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, employers only permitted to subtract funds from an employees’ earnings under the following circumstances:

  • If you fall under a union collective bargaining agreement that authorizes deductions.
  • If you work as a commissioned salesperson, there are established regulations for deductions due to performance-related concerns.
  • If you have willingly signed a written agreement before making a purchase or taking out a loan from your employer, allowing the cost of that transaction to be deducted from your wages.
  • In cases where a court order mandates deductions to be made.

What are the Provided Employee Benefits and Protections Under Minnesota State Law?

  • Minnesota regulations prohibit employers from engaging in discrimination and retaliation against workers based on various protected categories. Furthermore, employers in Minnesota are required to uphold pay equity and protect individuals who report misconduct.
  • Minnesota laws guarantee equal pay for comparable positions and shield employees from retaliation when they report instances of discrimination or violations of labor laws.
  • Employees in Minnesota also enjoy various types of leave, including domestic violence leave, jury duty leave, witness leave, and military leave.
  • Moreover, the Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that employers in Minnesota must pay the minimum wage for all hours worked and provide overtime compensation at one and a half times the regular rate for any extra hours worked.

Taking Action Against Violations in Minnesota

How to Report Violations to Authorities or Labor Departments in Minnesota?

If you have any concerns regarding employee wages, or you’re concerned about workplace safety and health hazards, it is advisable to formally file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Labor. Additionally, if you believe that your employer has retaliated against you for any of the following reasons:

  • Raising a safety or health concern,
  • Reporting a workplace injury, or
  • Complaining to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),

You can seek assistance and discuss your employment situation with the Discrimination and Retaliation Complaints staff members at Minnesota OSHA Compliance.

Case Studies and Real-Life Scenarios of Salaried Employee Rights Violations in Minnesota

1. Violation of Child Labor Laws: Minnesota Company Fined $300k for Illegally Employing Children

In a case against a meat processing company in Minnesota, Tony Downs Food Company has been directed to pay $300,000 in fines due to its unlawful employment of children in potentially dangerous positions. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), a district court issued a consent order mandating the company to adhere to state child labor regulations and implement substantial measures to ensure compliance. 

The ruling stems from an investigation conducted by the DLI, which revealed that the company had employed at least eight individuals aged between 14 and 17 to operate machinery in meat processing, which is a violation of state child labor laws prohibiting minors from working in perilous conditions. In a concerning revelation, one employee even claimed to have been only 13 years old when hired by Tony Downs Food Company. 

Employees at the facility were found to undertake hazardous tasks, such as operating meat grinders, ovens, and forklifts during overnight shifts that extended until 1 or 2 a.m. The DLI further noted that injury reports from the company indicated instances of children being harmed while performing these dangerous duties.

Lessons Learned from the Case

  • Compliance with Labor Laws is Crucial: This case underscores the importance of strict adherence to labor laws, especially when it comes to protecting the rights and safety of minors in the workplace. Employers must ensure they are in full compliance with child labor regulations to avoid severe penalties.
  • Importance of Oversight and Monitoring: Employers must establish effective oversight and monitoring systems to prevent violations of child labor laws. In this case, the company’s failure to monitor the ages and working conditions of its employees led to significant legal consequences.
  • Responsibility for Employee Safety: Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment for all employees, especially when hazardous equipment and tasks are involved. Failure to do so can result in injuries and legal consequences, as seen in this case.
2. Employee Misclassification: Minnesota Company Pays $254,000 to Misclassified Employees

In a DOL vs. Travelon Transportation case, a federal court in Minneapolis ruled in favor of employees at Travelon Transportation, an Eden Prairie-based non-emergency medical transport company. The court awarded a total of $254,000 in back wages to these employees after a jury determined that the company had deliberately misclassified them as independent contractors, thereby denying them rightful overtime pay. This dispute caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Labor when reports surfaced about employees being wrongly categorized, which led to an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. 

The employer, Alpha & Omega USA Inc., which operates as Travelon Transportation, faced legal action after failing to comply with the initial findings of misclassification. This case underscores the violation of various statutes within the Fair Labor Standards Act, such as failing to pay employees for their work, making inappropriate wage deductions, misclassifying workers, and neglecting to maintain accurate records of employee hours. After a jury trial that followed Travelon’s appeal of a prior judgment, the court upheld the employees’ right to back wages and damages.

Lessons Learned from this Case

  • Proper Employee Classification: It is crucial for employers to accurately classify their workers as employees or independent contractors to ensure they receive appropriate benefits and protections.
  • Compliance with Wage Laws: Employers must adhere to federal and state wage laws, including minimum wage and overtime regulations, to avoid legal consequences and to protect employees’ rights.
  • Keeping Accurate Records: Maintaining accurate records of employee hours and payments is vital for resolving disputes and ensuring fair compensation for workers.

Final Thoughts

In the state of Minnesota, it is of utmost importance to possess a deep comprehension of your legal rights and protections. This understanding holds significant importance, serving not only to shield you from potential infringements but also to empower you in advocating for your well-being effectively.

Maintaining up-to-date knowledge about any changes or revisions to labor laws is vital to ensure a favorable workplace environment. Given the intricate nature of employment regulations, it is highly advisable to seek expert guidance. You can achieve this by consulting with an employment attorney, reaching out to the U.S. Department of Labor, or seeking advice from the Office of the Labor Commissioner. These resources can provide you with invaluable information and guidance to navigate the legal landscape effectively.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.