June 17, 2019
MnRA has released our members-only 2019 legislative session recap report. If you have have not received an e-mail with the report featuring 55 bills passed or contemplated by legislators please contact Savannah Sepic at savannah@mnretail.org.
While Concerns With Process Remain, The Legislature Balanced Interests As Designed In Our System
The good news from the Legislature this year is their work to fund government for the next two years is done! It took a one-day special session that most of us would call overtime, but it's done.

One of the criticisms of the Legislature this year relates to the process used near the end to get to compromise positions on the budget bills. With a new Governor and the Minnesota House having a Democrat majority, and the Senate with a Republican majority, there were stark differences in the budget bills considered by the House and Senate. The process used to reconcile those differences included closed door, non-public meetings between Governor Tim Walz, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. In the spirit of Game of Thrones, the three parties were referred to by some as "the tribunal" as select legislators met with the three to decide the most difficult budget and policy areas.

The end process aside, divided government did produce compromise this session. We ended with a state budget less than what the Governor and House proposed, but more than the Senate put forward. We ended with the enactment of some policy provisions that as representatives of the retail community we are concerned about, however many of the policies we thought went too far didn't become law. In the end, the process produced a compromise budget that balanced out the policy ideas of Democrat and Republican legislators.

Some retail highlights of the 2019 session include:
  • Acceptable changes to marketplace and remote seller provisions based on the Wayfair decision;
  • Passage of a compromise approach to wage theft;
  • Non-passage of workplace mandates that fail to recognize differences in various retail operating models;
  • Lowering of statewide business property taxes; and
  • Unfortunate modifications to June accelerated tax payments passed solely to fill a budget gap.

MnRA extends a special thank you to Tom Freeman and the team at Faegre Baker Daniels for working with us at the State Capitol for a second year. Tom’s relationships and expertise greatly aided our efforts to defend the industry and support pro-retail positions.

We hope members find our 2019 State Legislative Outcomes document useful and we look forward to working with members in 2020 to ensure that Minnesota is a competitive place for retailers to do business.
New Wage Theft Law Begins July 1; What Retailers Need To Know
One of the outcomes of the 2019 session is a new wage theft law with portions that impact all employers across Minnesota kicking in July 1. This issue of The Retail Beat shares important compliance information from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

Retailers of all sizes and locations are subject to the new law. One provision retailers need to be aware of and prepare for is a new employee noticing requirement taking effect July 1 for all new employees.

See below for information on the July 1 requirements. To review all your obligations under the law visit http://www.dli.mn.gov/business/employment-practices/wage-theft-legislation-2019-and-summaries.
Wage Theft: New Responsibilities For Employers
From the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, June, 2019

Note: This is not an all encompassing list of wage theft changes and requirements. Visit http://www.dli.mn.gov/business/employment-practices/wage-theft-legislation-2019-and-summaries
to see a complete list of requirements.

Additional Information Employers Are Required To Provide To Employees When They Start Work (amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.032)

Providing written notice to employees about their employment status and terms of employment, including wages, hours and benefits, is not only a good business practice, it is also required by Minnesota law.

The new Wage Theft Law requires all employers to provide each employee with a written notice at the start of their employment. The notice must contain the following specific information about an employee’s employment status and terms of employment (New).

Below is the specific information employers must provide in the notice to employees when they start employment.

  • Employee’s employment status and whether an employee is exempt from minimum wage, overtime and other state wage and hour laws, and on what basis (New).
  • Number of days in the employee’s pay period and the regularly scheduled payday (New).
  • Date the employee will receive the first payment of wages earned (New).
  • Employee’s rate or rates of pay and the basis thereof, including whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission or other method and the specific application of any additional rates (New).
  • Allowances, if any, that may be claimed for permitted meals and lodging (New).
  • Provision of paid vacation, sick time or other paid time off (PTO), how the paid time off will accrue and terms for its use(New).
  • A list of deductions that may be made from the employee’s pay (New).
  • Employer’s legal name and the operating name, if different (New).
  • Physical address of employer’s main office or principal place of business and a mailing address, if different (New).
  • Employer’s telephone number (New).

Employers are required to keep a copy of the notice signed by each employee (New). All employers must provide the notice to employees in English. The notice must include a statement, in multiple languages, that informs employees they may request the notice be provided to them in another language (New). The employer must provide the notice in another language if requested by the employee (New). The Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is preparing and will make available to employers the statement in multiple languages that must be included with the notice. Employers are also required to provide employees in writing any changes to the information in the notice before the date the changes take effect (New).

Additional Information Employers Are Required To Provide Employees On Earnings Statements (amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.032)

Earnings statements (or paystubs) are important payroll records for employers and employees that document information about wages paid, hours worked, deductions made and benefits accrued by an employee. Existing state law requires earning statements be provided to employees in writing or by electronic means at the end of each pay period and specific information be included on the earnings statement. The new law requires the following additional information be included on the earnings statements provided to employees each pay period:

  • Name of the employee.
  • Total hours worked by the employee in the pay period.
  • 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 (New).
  • Allowances claimed for permitted meals and lodging (New). •Total amount of gross pay earned by employee in the pay period.
  • Net amount of pay after all deductions are made.
  • List of deductions made from the employee’s pay.
  • Date pay period ended.
  • Employer’s legal and operating name.
  • Employer’s telephone contact (New).
  • Physical address of employer’s main office or principal place of business and a mailing address, if different(New).

Additional Records Employers Are Required To Maintain
(amendments to Minn. Stat. § 177.30)

Under existing law, employers are required to keep various records for three years. It is in the employer’s interest to maintain complete and accurate records that can be used to demonstrate an employer’s compliance with state wage and hour laws. The new law requires the following additional records be kept by an employer:

  • Each employee’s name, address and occupation.
  • Each employee’s rate of pay and the amount paid each pay period.
  • 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(New).
  • 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 (New).
  • 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 (New).
  • For each employer subject to Minn. Stat. §§ 177.41 to 177.44 (Minnesota Prevailing Wage Act), and while performing work on public works projects funded in whole or in part with state funds, the employer shall furnish under oath signed by an owner or officer of an employer to the contracting authority and the project owner every two weeks, a certified payroll report with respect to the wages and benefits paid each employee during the preceding weeks specifying for each employee: name; identifying number; prevailing-wage master job classification; hours worked each day; total hours; rate of pay; gross amount earned; each deduction for taxes; total deductions; net pay for week; dollars contributed per hour for each benefit, including name and address of administrator; benefit account number; and telephone number for health and welfare, vacation or holiday, apprenticeship training, pension and other benefit programs.
  • Other information the commissioner finds necessary and appropriate to enforce Minn. Stat. §§ 177.21 to 177.435.

These and other records that are required to be kept by an employer must be available for inspection by the commissioner upon demand. The records must be either kept at the place where employees are working or kept in a manner that allows the employer to comply with the commissioner’s demand within 72 hours(New).

If records maintained by the employer do not provide sufficient information to determine the exact amount of back wages due, the commissioner may make a determination of wages due based on available evidence(New).

Clarifications And Requirements For What Wages And Commissions An Employer Must Pay And When Employers Must Pay Wages And Commissions To Employees
(amendments to Minn. Stat. § 181.101)

Employers must pay all wages, including salary, earnings and gratuities (New) earned by an employee at least once every 31 days and all commissions earned by an employee at least once every three months (New) on a regular payday.

The new Wage Theft Law further clarifies that Minn. Stat. § 181.101 provides a substantive right to the payment of commissions and wages, at the employee’s rate or rates of pay or the rate or rates required by law, whichever is greater, as well as the right to be paid wages and commissions earned on a regular pay day (New).