Can't go into work because you're watching the kids due to school cancellations this week? How about an elderly family member whose care center has been closed?

If you live in Minneapolis or St. Paul, you may still be entitled to your normal wages. Both cities count school, day-care and elder care closures due to snow or cold as legitimate work absences under safe and sick time ordinances. That means, if you're following the rules, your employer must legally give you the day off and may still need to pay you. The day may come out of your company's paid-time off plan, if you have one.

Here's what you need to know:

Who qualifies for safe and sick time?

If your place of work is located in Minneapolis or St. Paul, your employer must abide by the ordinances. By law, your employer must post these rules somewhere in the workplace.

How much time do I have off?

That depends on your employer. You accrue at least one hour per every 30 hours you work, which your boss can cap at 48 hours per year. That's the minimum. This may not apply if you're brand new, as employers can make you wait 90 days before granting time off. Check with your employer to see how much time you have saved up.

Do all employers have to pay for accrued time off?

In St. Paul: Yes.

In Minneapolis: It depends on the size of the business.

The Minneapolis law stipulates that if your workplace employs six or more people, your employer must pay you for the time off. For smaller businesses in Minneapolis, it's a little more complicated. Those employing five or fewer total workers don't legally have to pay you for safe and sick time. However, that doesn't mean yours doesn't. And remember: They still must give you the time off.

Why didn't this apply last time schools were closed?

Minneapolis and St. Paul both implemented safe and sick time ordinances in 2017, so if you didn't get time off during closures in the 2013 polar vortex, that doesn't mean you don't qualify now. That also means your employer may not be aware of the new law. But that's on them — not you — and they could still be penalized for violating it.

What if my employer refuses to abide or retaliates against me?

You can report them. Minneapolis and St. Paul both have investigators in charge of monitoring employers and making sure the law is enforced. If your employer is breaking the law, they could face fines and you may be entitled to back pay.

Andy Mannix • 612-673-4036