A Minneapolis business group is urging city officials to slow down the timeline for the introduction -- and possible approval -- of a citywide sick-leave ordinance.
The Southwest Business Association, an organization that covers businesses located south of 36th Street on the western side of the city, outlined its concerns in a letter to Mayor Betsy Hodges and members of the City Council. The group's president, Matt Perry, said December and January are difficult times for both business owners and city officials to communicate about policy proposals, making the city's planned February deadline for a recommendation a problem.
The Workplace Regulations Partnership, a 19-member group of workers, employers and representatives from business and labor groups began meeting in December and has been directed to provide a recommendation on citywide sick leave to the City Council by the end of February. The issue was initially raised last fall as part of Hodges' Working Families Agenda, which also included a proposal on workplace scheduling. Hodges and other advocates have said sick-leave policies will help low-income workers and help reduce racial disparities across the city.
In his letter, Perry says the ongoing discussions about sick leave will have significant implications on businesses but is concerned about a "lack of publicly available information" from the city and the group studying the issue.
"What is clear to us from the input we've heard is that the time frame for the work of this committee is grossly inadequate," he wrote.
The city updated its website on Dec. 31 to add a schedule of six "listening sessions" the work group will hold with businesses and workers in January. It also lists the names of the group's members and minutes and documents from its first two meetings.
The Workplace Regulations Partnerships' meetings are public. In the group's Dec. 11 meeting, some members noted that the city's timeline may have to be adjusted if weather conditions or other obstacles result in postponed meetings or slowed progress.