May 27, 2016

The Push for Paid Sick, Family and Medical Leave in Minnesota: Minneapolis Passes Ordinance

Paid leave — as previously reported in our March legal update, “The Push for Paid Sick, Family and Medical Leave in Minnesota” — has been a hot topic in Minnesota this spring. Although none of the bills addressing statewide paid sick and safe time, paid family and medical leave or state pre-emption of local laws passed through the Minnesota Legislature, Minneapolis passed its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance on May 27, 2016, and St. Paul continues to consider the possibility of extending paid sick and safe time to all employees in Saint Paul.

Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance

The final Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is largely consistent with the recommendations presented by the Minneapolis Workplace Regulations Partnership Group (WPG) on March 16, 2016. That said, the final ordinance does differ some from the WPG’s recommendations and the first version of the ordinance prepared by Minneapolis staff members based on the WPG’s recommendations.

The key provisions of the final Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which will become effective July 1, 2017, include:

  • Scope: (1) Any person or entity that employs one or more employees (regardless of where the employer is located); (2) “employee” means any individual employed by an employer, including temporary employees and part-time employees, who perform work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Minneapolis for at least 80 hours in a year for that employer; and (3) “employee” does not include independent contractors.

  • Accrual: (1) One hour per every 30 hours worked; (2) employees begin to accrue sick and safe time when employment starts and can begin using such time 90 days after employment begins; (3) exempt employees are considered to work 40 hours per week unless there is evidence of regularly working less than 40 hours per week; (4) employees may carry over accrued, unused sick and safe time to the following year; (5) the total amount of accrued but unused sick and safe time for an employee may not exceed 80 hours at any time, unless an employer agrees to a higher amount; (6) employers are not required to pay out accrued and unused sick and safe time upon termination of employment; and (7) when there is a separation from employment and the employee is rehired within 90 days of separation by the same employer, previously accrued sick and safe time that had not been used must be reinstated.

  • Usage and Pay: (1) Employees may use sick and safe time for themselves or members of their extended families and household; (2) employees may use sick and safe time for mental and physical illness or treatment, safety leave (including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking), public health emergencies, or due to unexpected closure of school or family care facility; (3) an employer may require reasonable documentation that the sick and safe time for absences of more than three consecutive days; (4) employees may use sick and safe time in increments consistent with current business/payroll practices, as defined by industry standards or existing employer policy, provided such increment is not more than four hours; (5) employers who provide their employees sick and safe time under a paid time off policy or other paid leave policy that meets or exceeds, and does not otherwise conflict, with the minimum standards and requirements provided in this chapter are not required to provide additional sick and safe time; (6) an employer with six or more employees must compensate the employee at the same hourly rate with the same benefits as the employee was scheduled to earn during the time the employee uses his or her accrued sick and safe time, but in no case shall the employee be compensated at a rate less than the rate requirement in Minnesota Statutes, Section 177.24 (employees are not entitled to compensation for lost tips or commissions, and compensation is only required for hours that an employee is scheduled to have worked); (7) an employer with five or less employees must allow employees unpaid use of accrued sick and safe time; and (8) a health care provider may only use sick and safe time when the health care provider has been scheduled to work (a health care provider has not been scheduled to work for shifts for which the health care provider chooses to call in and request a shift occurring within twenty-four (24) hours, or for shifts for which the health care provider has only been asked to remain available or on call, unless the health care provider has been asked to remain on the employer’s premises).

  • Implementation, Monitoring and Enforcement: (1) The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Director has broad authority to implement, administer and enforce the new law; (2) employees are protected from retaliation in any form; (3) employers are required to display a poster (to be created by the City) in English and other languages; (4) an employer that provides an employee handbook to its employees must include in the handbook notice of employees’ sick and safe time rights and remedies; (5) employers must treat any health or medical information regarding an employee or an employee’s family member or information pertaining to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking of an employee or an employee's family member as confidential; (6) upon request by an employee, an employer must provide in writing or electronically with the employee’s then-current amount of used and available sick and safe time; and (7) the ordinance includes multiple enforcement provisions, including investigation and appeal procedures, fines, penalties and other relief.

The final Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance can be viewed on the City of Minneapolis website at “Workplace Regulations FINAL Draft Ordinance.”

Saint Paul Paid Sick Time

As reported in March, Mayor Coleman appointed an Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) task force on March 2, 2016. Since then, the ESST task force has held 10 meetings and voted on numerous proposed components of a potential ordinance. The task force ultimately will make recommendations to the Saint Paul Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission, which will in turn make final recommendations to the St. Paul City Council and Mayor Chris Coleman.

Additional information about the ESST task force and its actions to date is available on the Saint Paul website at “Earned Sick and Safe Time.”

For further information about sick and safe time leave in Minneapolis and St. Paul, contact a member of Faegre Baker Daniels’ governmental relations practice.

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