The City of Minneapolis will require employers to provide their workers with paid sick and safe leave pursuant to an ordinance passed by the Minneapolis City Council on May 27, 2016. The ordinance applies to any company with six or more employees (regardless of where the employees are located) so long as at least one employee works in within the city limits. Only individuals working in the City of Minneapolis are covered by the law, however. The new city law applies to both full-time employees as well as part-time employees working at least 80 hours per year. The ordinance allows workers to accrue a minimum of one hour of sick and safe time for every thirty hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year, unless the employer agrees to a higher amount. Employees will be allowed to carry-over up to 80 hours of accrued but unused sick and safe time to the following calendar year. Tips and commissions are not counted for purposes of payment of sick and safe time.
Paid sick time may be used to for an employee’s mental or physical illness, injury or health condition; diagnosis or treatment of medical issues, and preventative care. It may be also used for the care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition, or who needs diagnosis or treatment of medical issues or preventative care. “Family member” includes an employee’s child, step-child, adopted child, foster child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, step-parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, and domestic partner. Paid safe time may be used for absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of an employee or an employee’s family member.
The ordinance will be enforced by the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights and includes a non-retaliation provisions as well as a number of notice and record keeping requirements. The law will be codified in the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances, Title 2, Chapter 40.
The law does not go into effect until July 1, 2017, but companies with employees in Minneapolis should start reviewing their existing policies soon. Employers with paid time off (PTO) policies should be allowed to keep them, so long as they are otherwise compliant (including expanding coverage for part-time employees). The law raises several questions for employers, however, such as: (1) should your company have separate policies for employees in Minneapolis and those working outside of Minneapolis? (2) does your policy address whether accrued but unused PTO or vacation time is paid upon termination of employment? And (3) Does your policy address carry-over and does your company have necessary record keeping procedures and technology to ensure compliance?
No law in the country required paid sick leave before the city of San Francisco passed the first ordinance effective in 2007. Since then, a number of states, cities and counties on the east and west coasts have passed similar laws. Minneapolis is one of the few cities in the Midwest to enact such a requirement, although both St. Paul and Duluth are considering similar measures. Federal contractors will also be required to provide paid sick leave to their employees starting in 2017.
About the Author:
Trepanier MacGillis Battina attorney V. John Ella recently presented at the Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute on the topic of paid sick leave and has advised numerous employers on revising vacation, PTO, and sick and safe time policies and handbooks. He is available to assist employers with this new requirement. Please contact him at 612.455.6237 or email@example.com.