Both Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are advancing toward separate citywide paid sick leave ordinances. The paid sick leave ball got rolling on the Minneapolis side of the Mississippi River, but St. Paul more recently found a handhold on that same ball.
Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Draft Recommendations
The Minneapolis Workplace Partnership Group has been narrowing down options for the Minneapolis citywide paid sick leave ordinance. They were scheduled to present their initial findings in February, but they rescheduled for March 16. Although Minneapolis may not be moving as swiftly toward an implemented paid sick leave ordinance as they would like, they continue to take steps forward.
According to MinnPost:
“At a minimum, backers of the mandate have eight of the 15 votes needed to recommend an ordinance that would require all employers to allow workers to accrue paid time off for their own illnesses or to care for sick family members.”
In their February 25, 2016 draft paid sick leave recommendations, they have identified the key components that would comprise the meat of their paid sick leave ordinance.
- Eligibility: Employees who work at least 80 hours in a year (regardless of employer location)
- Accrual: One hour earned for every 30 hours worked. Employees will begin earning accrued sick time at the start of employment.
- Usage: Employees would able to access earned hours after a provisional period, consistent with employer practice, and no longer than 90 days.
- Annual Cap: 48 hours per year with a carry-over cap of 80 hours on total accrual.
- Posting Requirement: Employers must display a poster in a spot conspicuous and accessible to all employees in English or any other language spoken by 10 percent of the employer’s workforce Individual.
- Notice Requirement: Employers must provide written notice at time of hire, or if already employed, as soon as possible, in English and primary language of the employee provided the department has made available the notice in that language.
- Recordkeeping: Employer must maintain records for 2 years, unless otherwise required by required by law or regulation.
- Covered Employers: Workplaces with four or more employees. Three or fewer employees would be exempt from adhering to the ordinance. Small employers (with fewer than 24 employees) and new/start businesses would have 6-12 months to adhere to the ordinance.
Again, these are merely recommendations at this stage, but now it’s all about “tweaking” the details.
Oh, and a Minneapolis citywide minimum wage is on the horizon.
The City authorized a minimum wage increase impact study in 2015. After a competitive bidding process, City staff has recommended a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota, Howard University, Rutgers University, and the Economic Policy Institute.
What is the impacting force they are studying? The effects from a $12.00 minimum wage phased in over five years and a $15.00 minimum wage phased in over five years, and then indexing the rate annually for inflation.
St. Paul’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Process
Only slightly behind Minneapolis in its progress, the City Council resolved in February 2016 to extend paid sick leave to all city government employees, which Mayor Chris Coleman lauded as a positive example for private employers. In the first week of March, the Mayor and the City Council appointed an Earned Sick and Safe Time Task Force (ESSTTF) that will make recommendations on the scope of the ordinance.
St. Paul recently completed its final public listening session. Participants were told that “nothing is in stone” and that the City is merely gathering input from all stakeholders. Yes, input was duly noted by a City intern, but City representatives were quick to divert viewpoints opposing a citywide earned sick and safe time ordinance.
The City is – like Minneapolis – moving toward passage of an ordinance. Consider language from a resolution recently passed by the St. Paul City Council:
“FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission present their recommended ordinance including the Task Force’s recommendations and their proposed enforcement policy to the Mayor and City Council on or before June 1, 2016 so that an ordinance may be implemented in 2017.”
Conclusion: the Minneapolis and St. Paul paid sick leave ordinances may not be set in stone, but employers with locations in either city may want to start the process of determining operational and budget impacts.