Minneapolis Enacts City-Wide Paid Sick Leave; Joins State-Wide and National Trends
On May 27, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved an ordinance granting paid sick leave to most workers in the city. Employers with six or more employees who work at least 80 hours in a year must provide paid sick leave. Newly-established businesses or employers with fewer than six employees must provide unpaid sick leave. Employees earn paid sick leave at a rate of one hour per thirty hours worked. Employees may use their paid sick leave to miss work for their own illness or to provide care to their sick children or relatives. Employers that violate this ordinance face a $1,500 fine from the city.
While this ordinance only applies to employers located in Minneapolis, it signals a wider trend in workplace benefits legislation across the country. Minneapolis joins 23 other major American cities with similar ordinances, including San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Additionally, five states require paid sick leave: Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont.
The Minnesota Legislature considered paid sick leave and paid family/medical leave during the 2016 legislative session. Senator Katie Sieben introduced the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, which would provide employees with 12 weeks of paid leave per year, paid for by increased payroll taxes. Although the Senate passed the bill, the House did not, so it will not become law this year.
The possibility of a paid sick leave mandate is important to consider in future planning, as employers providing their own sick leave coverage avoid paying into the government program if they can show they are providing their employees with an adequate benefit. Best & Flanagan’s labor and employment attorneys have already begun advising clients about the impact of the new ordinance on their operations in Minneapolis. Please contact one of our employment attorneys with any questions or to schedule a one-on-one discussion of how these changes may affect your company.