EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS

St. Paul Amends Paid Sick Leave Law

By Kris Janisch
Published Jan. 25, 2023

St. Paul Amends Paid Sick Leave Law

While it may be easier to do for those companies actually based in the city, those that have workers living in St. Paul in a hybrid environment, or occasionally working there, have more compliance concerns with the amendments to the law.

St. Paul, Minn., has amended its paid sick leave law so that it covers employees working in the city, not merely employees at companies that are headquartered there.

A 2020 state supreme court decision regarding Minneapolis’ paid sick leave ordnance opened the door for St. Paul to make its amendments. City officials had made administrative changes to the law after that point but only this month amended language in the ordinance.

The move brings St. Paul’s paid sick leave ordinance into alignment with the city’s minimum wage law, and the city council approved the earned sick and safe time amendments Jan. 18, 2023.

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St. Paul Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law Amendments

The major change under the amendments is that when employees work in St. Paul, regardless of whether their company is based there, they accrue earned sick and safe time.

Employees accrue one hour of earned sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked within St. Paul’s boundaries, earning up to 48 hours in a 12-month calendar or fiscal year.

Also, after working in St. Paul for a year, employees can carry over up to 80 hours of earned sick and safe time from year to year.

St. Paul Earned Sick and Safe Time

As a refresher, below are other aspects of St. Paul sick and safe time.

Eligible Reasons for Use

Employees can use paid leave for:

  • Their own mental or physical illness, injury or medical condition, including preventive care
  • To provide care for family member’s mental or physical illness, injury or medical condition, including preventive care
  • Safe time for employee, or employee’s family member, due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking, including counseling, relocation, or legal services
  • Closure of business or family member’s place of care or school due to public health emergency or inclement weather, loss of power, heating, water or other unexpected closure

Covered Family Member

Covered family members include:

  • Biological, adoptive, step, foster or adult child
  • Spouse
  • Sibling
  • Parent, step-parent or parent-in-law
  • Grandchild, grandparent, registered domestic partners
  • Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship

Other Considerations

  • Accrual begins at the start of employment
  • Frontloading is allowed as long as it meets the minimum requirements of the ordinance
  • Incremental use – not more than four hours
  • Payment – same as hourly rate (different rules apply for tipped employees)
  • Records must be kept for three years
  • A labor law poster is required

Managing Paid Leave Laws

The challenges of managing paid leave laws continues to grow.

In 2022 alone, there were about 240 paid leave bills introduced across the U.S. Over the course of last year, there were 30 bills that either enacted, updated, amended or introduced new paid leave laws.

In addition to new legislation being introduced, employers also have to keep up with guidance and updates to paid leave laws that are already in effect. At the start of 2023, there were several updates to existing laws for employers to be aware of. Read our blog, What’s New for Paid Leave Laws on Jan. 1, 2023?, for more information.

And these updates don’t happen on regular schedules, as was the case for St. Paul’s paid sick leave amendments.

Moving forward, large employers should continue to monitor government entities where they have locations to ensure compliance and prepare for any potential changes.

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Conclusion

Employers with locations in or near the Twin Cities should make sure they are tracking their employees’ hours worked in St. Paul.

While it may be easier to do for those companies actually based in the city, those that have workers living in St. Paul in a hybrid environment, or occasionally working there, have more compliance concerns with the amendments to the law.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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