New changes to Minnesota workers’ compensation law

By Kate Daly, SFM Corporate Counsel

The Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council (WCAC) bill is officially law.

Gov. Tim Walz signed the bill on May 8, 2024. The legislation contains 50 sections with amendments to chapter 176, many of which are technical or cleanup provisions recommended by the Office of Administrative Hearings.

The following is a summary of key changes contained in the bill.

Maximum compensation rate

Effective Oct. 1, 2024, the maximum compensation rate will increase from 102% to 108% of the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW).

Average Weekly Wage (AWW) for agricultural workers

The AWW for agricultural employment will change to address the windfall that many employees have enjoyed from multiple employments during short-term agriculture employment stints. If an agricultural worker sustains an injury while working for two or more employers during short-term agricultural work, the AWW will be either the AWW of the employee’s other employment or the agricultural wage at 5 times the daily wage. The employee cannot claim wages from both agricultural work and from other employers.

This will be a significant change for policyholders in the agricultural business.

The change is effective Oct. 1, 2024.

Attorney fees

The maximum amount for statutory-contingent attorney fees will increase. Currently, the maximum attorney fee allowed is 20% of the first $130,000 of compensation awarded to the employee, for a maximum attorney fee of $26,000. The new law will change to 20% of the first $275,000 of compensation awarded to the employee, for a maximum attorney fee of $55,000. The change is effective for injuries occurring on or after Oct. 1, 2024.

Procedural changes


The timeline for filing an Answer to a Claim Petition or an Objection to a Request for an Expedited Hearing will change from 20 to 30 days. The change is effective Aug. 1, 2024.

Discontinuance of rehabilitation benefits

If a claim has been accepted and a rehabilitation plan has been approved, the employer or insurer may not discontinue rehabilitation services until notice has been filed with the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry and served on the qualified rehabilitation consultant, the employee, and the attorney representing the employee, if any. The notice shall state the date of intended discontinuance and set forth a statement of facts clearly indicating the reason for the action. Copies of whatever medical reports or other written reports in the employer’s possession that are relied on for the discontinuance shall be attached to the notice. The change is effective Aug. 1, 2024.

Clarification to Minnesota Statute § 176.238, notice of discontinuance

The amendment adds “or insurer” to all references of “employer” so the statute consistently reads “employer or insurer.” The amendment clarifies that employers or insurers can serve and file notices of discontinuances, file petitions for hearing, and be served with objection to discontinuance and court decisions. The change is effective Aug. 1, 2024.

Home remodeling

Home remodeling benefits will increase from $75,000 to $150,000, effective Oct. 1, 2024.

Medical record penalty

Effective Aug. 1, 2024, the electronic medical records payment provisions of Minn. Stat. § 176.135, subd. 7, will allow the commissioner to impose a permissive of penalty of $500, payable to the Assigned Risk Safety account, for violations of the statute.

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