December 06, 2019

A New Year’s Resolution for All Minneapolis Employers: Comply With the Minneapolis Wage Theft Ordinance

Effective January 1, 2020, the Minneapolis Wage Theft Prevention Ordinance subjects employers with employees working in Minneapolis to written notice and other obligations that go beyond the requirements of the statewide wage theft law that has been in effect since July 1, 2019. The ordinance covers all employees (including temporary and part-time employees) who perform at least 80 hours of work within the city of Minneapolis in a calendar year. Among other requirements, the ordinance mandates that all current employees covered by the ordinance receive a complete wage theft notice no later than the end of the employer’s first full pay period of 2020.

The city of Minneapolis has recently indicated that its initial focus will be on educating employers about the ordinance, rather than on enforcement efforts. Nonetheless, employers subject to the ordinance should ensure they have a compliance plan in place.

Four Key Questions Minneapolis Employers Must Consider

  1. Does your employee notice form include all of the required information?

    In addition to the information required under Minnesota’s wage theft law, the ordinance requires that the employee notice form for Minneapolis employees include the following information:

    • The date when employment begins
    • A description of the employer’s overtime policy
    • A statement that tip sharing is voluntary under state law (where applicable)
    • A notice of the employee’s rights under the city’s sick and safe time ordinance (including the method by which the employee will accrue sick and safe time; the date upon which the employee is entitled to use accrued sick and safe time; and the date upon which the employer’s year for the purpose of sick and safe time accrual begins and ends)

    In the months since the ordinance’s passage, Minneapolis has published a sample employee notice form and updated its Minneapolis Labor and Employment Rights Notice, both of which are available here. The Minneapolis Labor and Employment Rights Notice is a separate document from the employee notice form and must be provided to all Minneapolis employees at the start of employment (which could be accomplished by including it with the employee notice form). In addition, the notice must be posted in a conspicuous place at all job sites within the city.

  2. Are you prepared to provide the employee notice form to all current Minneapolis-based employees by no later than the end of your first full pay period of 2020?

    Unlike the statewide Minnesota wage theft law, the ordinance requires that all current covered employees receive completed employee notice forms no later than the first full pay period of 2020, unless all of the required information has already been provided to employees. Employers are also required to collect and retain signatures from each employee acknowledging receipt of such employee notice form. For employers with a large Minneapolis workforce, these requirements could pose significant administrative challenges.

  3. Do you have a plan for providing covered employees with written notice of any changes to the information contained on employees’ initial employee notice form?

    The ordinance requires that such notice be provided prior to the date the changes take effect, and the change notice must be signed by the employee before the changes go into effect. Employers covered by the ordinance should also consider how they will handle situations in which employees refuse or neglect to sign a change notice.

    Notably, there is an exception to the signature requirement: when an employee receives an increase in his or her wages. In that case, provided the employee is informed in advance, in writing, of the specific amount of the wage increase and notified of the specific date on which it will occur, the employee’s signature on a change notice is not required.

  4. Do your earnings statements/pay stubs for employees working in Minneapolis include all of the information required under the ordinance?

    Effective January 1, 2020, earnings statements for Minneapolis employees must state the current balance of accrued and unused sick and safe time hours (or other qualifying leave, such as paid time off for employers who use PTO to satisfy the city’s sick and safe leave requirements), which the city of Minneapolis has interpreted to include clearly identifying at least two of the following amounts:

    • The total sick and safe time hours accrued (current year-to-date, plus any hours carried over from previous years)
    • The total (current year-to-date) sick and safe time hours used
    • The current balance of sick and safe time hours that have been accrued and are still available for use (i.e., because they have not yet been used)

    Covered employers should work with their payroll vendors to ensure that this information is included on earnings statements beginning with the first pay period in 2020.

The city of Minneapolis has posted some limited guidance on its website, including answers to frequently asked questions and draft rules applicable to the ordinance. The FAQ and draft rules are available for public comment until December 31, 2019. The rules focus primarily on the definition of a covered employee and enforcement and investigation procedures.

For further information regarding the ordinance or for compliance assistance, contact the authors or another member of Faegre Baker Daniels’ HR Compliance, Training & Transactions Support team.

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