The work group that spent the last three months drafting a citywide policy for paid sick leave will present its plan to the Minneapolis City Council this morning. 

The proposal would require all businesses with at least four employees working in Minneapolis to provide paid sick leave to workers. One hour of leave would be earned for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum of 48 hours per year. Employees at smaller businesses could take unpaid leave without fear of retribution from employers, but would not be guaranteed pay for that time. People would need to work at least 80 hours in the city annually to qualify for the benefit.

The Workplace Partnership Group created its proposal after holding 14 listening sessions around the city. Its 15 voting members approved the plan Monday in a 13-1 vote, with one member abstaining. Steve Cramer, president of the Downtown Council, cast the lone dissenting vote and will present the council with a formal dissenting opinion.

Members of the Partnership Group gathered before the meeting to share their thoughts about the proposal and its development with the media. Several said they are excited about the possibility of Minneapolis joining nearly two dozen other U.S. cities that have already passed sick-leave policies.

Brian Elliott, executive director of the Service Employees International Union Minnesota State Council, said the policy would help the estimated 42 percent of Minneapolis workers -- about 120,000 people -- who currently do not have paid sick time. 

Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots Cafe and Catering, said he's offered his employees paid time off for years, and hasn't run into any problems with cost or abuse of the benefit.

"I think very quickly we are going to see this will be a strength for Minneapolis, not a liability," he said.

The council, which has been considering the sick leave issue since last year, will not take immediate action. Council members may discuss the proposal, but will only vote to formally receive the report on Wednesday.