Minneapolis and St. Paul Sick and Safe Time Ordinances Set to Take Effect July 1st

The sick time ordinances passed by both the Minneapolis and St. Paul City Councils take effect July 1, 2017. The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time ordinance requires all employers with six or more employees to provide paid sick time; employers with five or less employees are required to provide unpaid sick time. The St. Paul Earned Sick and Safe Time ordinance will apply to all employers, regardless of size, but gives a six-month grace period to employers with 23 or fewer employees. Both cities have also included a deferral provision for new employers.

The ordinances require that employees accrue one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year. Additionally, employees may carry over accrued but unused leave subject to an 80 hour cap. As originally written, each ordinance covered all employees, regardless of employer location, working in that city for at least 80 hours in one calendar year.  That provision is currently on hold.

In January, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and others sued in Hennepin County District Court seeking to halt the Minneapolis ordinance. The Court ruled that the ordinance can proceed as planned, but issued a temporary restraining order preventing the ordinance from impacting employers physically located outside of Minneapolis. The matter is currently on appeal, with oral arguments scheduled for July 11, 2017. The City of St. Paul will also be enforcing its ordinance only against employers physically located within St. Paul.

The ordinances also faced some uncertainty after the Minnesota legislature passed a state preemption bill. On May 30, 2017, Governor Mark Dayton ultimately vetoed the bill that would have prevented local employment law ordinances, including the Minneapolis and St. Paul sick and safe time ordinances.

Affected employers currently providing employees with sick time under an existing paid leave policy that "meets or exceeds, and does not otherwise conflict" with the ordinances are not required to provide additional sick time. However, employers should note that the ordinances are different from many employers' existing policies in that the ordinances apply to both part-time and full-time employees. With the enforcement date now here, affected employers should be reviewing their current policies and handbooks to ensure compliance with the new ordinances taking effect.

Questions about whether your company is in compliance? Contact Mark T. Berhow in our Minneapolis office, or your regular Hinshaw attorney.

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