Minneapolis officials are asking businesses for their input on the city’s sick time policy now that employers based outside the city will have to come into compliance.
The city of Minneapolis’ Department of Civil Rights is accepting comments through June 7 on the proposed rule changes for an ordinance that makes workers eligible for sick time hours. The call for comments comes nearly two weeks after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the city’s sick and safe time ordinance does not violate state law and can be enforced.
The ruling also overturned a Hennepin County district court decision that protected companies based outside of Minneapolis from following the sick time rule. The city has at times struggled to enforce the rule with the ongoing court case and businesses trying to understand the new requirements.
City officials said they have reached settlements with 84 businesses following reports of violations of the sick and safe time ordinance. In those cases, city officials had documentation or other evidence that the employer chose not to dispute.
Under the sick time ordinance created in 2016, full-time, part-time and temporary employees — and even interns — who work 80 hours or more each year in Minneapolis are eligible for at least one hour of time off for every 30 hours worked. While companies with six or more workers have to give paid time off, smaller ones do not. Workers can use the time off if they’re sick, need counseling or are caregiving for children or ill family members. Employers can cap the accrued time off at 48 hours per year.
The rule went into effect July 1, 2017. The city does not have estimates on how many businesses located outside of the city would be affected by the rule.
Doug Loon, president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement this week that the rules are “misguided and unworkable.” The organization was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city over the rules.
“It promotes further confusion through a patchwork of city-by-city workplace rules that burdens businesses and limits the natural flow of commerce,” Loon said. “We need consistent, statewide workplace regulations and urge the Legislature to limit these complex municipal rules.”
The chamber is considering whether it will submit comments before the deadline and whether it will appeal.
People can submit comments by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at the city’s Department of Civil Rights Department, 350 S. 5th St., Room 239.