Minneapolis Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance Now Applies to Employers Outside the City

On Monday, April 29, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its ruling regarding the Minneapolis Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance (“Ordinance”).  In this most recent judicial ruling in the challenge to the Ordinance, the Court affirmed that state law does not preempt the Ordinance.  Overturning previous lower-court decisions, the Court determined that the Ordinance can be enforced on employers outside the geographic boundaries of the City of Minneapolis. 

The Ordinance, which went into effect on July 1, 2017, requires employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to employees working within Minneapolis.  In October 2016, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, along with other employers and business associations, challenged the Ordinance.  In the initial stages of the lawsuit, the City was prohibited from enforcing the Ordinance against employers with business locations outside the geographic bounds of Minneapolis via a temporary injunction.

In March 2018, in response to the temporary injunction, the City of Minneapolis amended the Ordinance to clarify the geographic reach.  The Ordinance now states: “employees accrue a minimum of one (1) hour of sick and safe time for every thirty (30) hours worked within the geographic boundaries of the city up to a maximum of forty-eight (48) hours in a calendar year…” Further, “an employer is only required to allow an employee to use sick and safe time that is accrued pursuant to this ordinance when the employee is scheduled to perform work within the geographic boundaries of the city…”  Today, the Court of Appeals determined, with the 2018 amendments, “the ordinance permits leave to accrue only when an employee works in the city and permits an employee to use her leave when scheduled to work in the city, the ordinance operates solely within the city.”  As a result, the City can require employers located outside the geographic bounds of Minneapolis to comply with the Ordinance.     

While the decision is likely to be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, employers located outside Minneapolis, who have employees working in Minneapolis, should review their handbooks and paid time off policies to ensure they are compliant with all requirements of the Ordinance.  Specific attention should be paid to the accrual rates, carry-over rules, and employee notice requirements for employees performing work in Minneapolis. 

Additionally, employers with employees working in St. Paul or Duluth should be aware that, as a result of this decision, St. Paul and Duluth are likely to follow suit and revise their paid sick and safe leave requirements to apply to employers located outside of its city. 

If you have any questions about anything in this article, or would like help reviewing your employee handbook or paid time off policy, please contact Caitlin Andersen at 952-921-4619 or candersen@seatonlaw.com or any of the Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A. attorneys.

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