The group tasked with studying the issue of citywide sick leave -- and providing recommendations to the City Council -- has begun its work.

At its first meeting Friday afternoon, the 15-member Workplace Regulations Partnership began planning for a series of listening sessions and discussions it will hold through the end of February, when it forwards its ideas to the council. Members of the group, which has four additional alternate members, are workers, business owners, labor leaders and the heads of business groups.

The group has not formalized the dates and times of listening sessions, which will include invited guests and also be open to the public. It did set a target for wrapping up the work: Feb. 22, two days before the proposal would be presented to the council's Committee of the Whole. 

Members of the group selected Liz Doyle, associate director of TakeAction Minnesota to serve as chairwoman, and Jim Rowader, vice president and general consul of employee and labor relations at Target, to serve as vice chairman. 

The group was formed following weeks of debate over the Working Families Agenda proposed by Mayor Betsy Hodges and some council members. The slate of workplace reforms initially included proposals on both scheduling regulations and paid sick leave, but officials tabled the scheduling issue following significant push back from business owners.

The city's initial sick-leave proposal granted all employees in the city access to earn up to 40 or 72 hours of paid sick leave, depending on the size of the business at which they work.