The city of Minneapolis can now enforce its sick-leave ordinance against employers based outside the city.
The state Court of Appeals upheld the city's sick-leave rules Monday while also reversing an earlier Hennepin County district court ruling that exempted employers located outside Minneapolis.
The court ruled that the sick and safe time ordinance neither conflicts with state law nor oversteps its bounds in applying to Minneapolis workers with employers outside the city — a setback for businesses that oppose the policy.
Monday's opinion, authored by presiding Judge Louise Dovre Bjorkman, notes that because the ordinance only requires sick time for employees who work in Minneapolis and can only be used for hours of scheduled work in Minneapolis, it "operates solely within the city."
Mayor Jacob Frey praised the ruling in a statement Monday, calling it "a victory for the Minneapolis workers that depend on paid leave to protect their health and to care for their children and families."
The legal battle over the ordinance began soon after it was passed by the City Council in 2016. Under the rules, employees can accrue sick leave if they work at least 80 hours per year in Minneapolis. Workers can earn one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, which employers can cap at 48 hours a year.
The leave must be paid by businesses with at least six employees.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state's biggest business association, sued the city in 2016 and has argued that state law already covers paid leave, which prohibits Minneapolis from adding another requirement. The Chamber has not yet decided whether to appeal Monday's ruling, spokesperson Jim Pumarlo said.
Doug Loon, the Chamber's president, said in a statement Monday that the ordinance "imposes significant administrative burdens" on companies. The ruling, he said, shows the need for a state law that prevents local governments from passing their own wage and benefit mandates.