Minneapolis Enacts Paid Sick Leave Effective July 1, 2017

On May 27, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance mandating that all employees in the City of Minneapolis be provided with paid sick leave. Here are the highlights of the ordinance employers should know:

  • The ordinance applies to all employers with at least 1 employee.
  • The ordinance requires employers with employees who perform work within the geographic boundaries of the city for at least 80 hours in a year to allow for the accrual of 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked for those employees. This includes temporary and part-time employees.
  • Employees may not accrue more than 48 hours of sick leave in a calendar year, unless the employer chooses to provide a higher limit.
  • Employees must be allowed to carry over up to 80 hours of unused sick time.
  • Employees may use the sick leave to care for themselves or for a sick family member (child, step-child, adopted child, foster child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, step-parent, mother-in-ordinance, father-in-ordinance, grandchild, grandparent, guardian, ward, members of the employee’s household and registered domestic partners), or for an absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Employers may require reasonable documentation supporting the need for leave if the leave is three or more consecutive days.
  • Accruals begin on July 1, 2017 – the ordinance’s effective date. Employees who become employed after such date begin to accrue leave at the commencement of employment.
  • Employees are entitled to use accrued sick leave beginning 90 calendar days following commencement of their employment.
  • If the need for use of sick time is foreseeable, employers may require no more than seven days’ advance notice of the intention to use sick time.
  • Employers must allow employees to use sick time in the smallest amount of time tracked by the employer’s payroll system.
  • Employers with six or more employees must compensate an employee at the same hourly rate with the same benefits as the employee was scheduled to earn during use of accrued sick leave.
  • Employers with five or less employees must allow employees unpaid use of accrued sick and safe time.
  • Employers may, but are not required to pay out accrued, but unused sick leave in the event of termination or resignation of employment.
  • Employers are required to post notices informing employees of their right to sick leave under the ordinance.
  • Employers who provide employee handbooks to its employees must include in the handbook notice of employee rights and remedies under the ordinance.
  • Upon request by an employee, employers must provide information stating the current amount of accrued sick time available to the employee and used sick time.
  • Employers are also required to keep records documenting showing accrued sick time and used sick time for each day of the workweek, to be retained for at least three years.
  • Employers who already provide paid time off or other paid leave policies that meet or exceed the requirements in this ordinance do not have to provide additional sick time. However, just because an employer has an existing PTO policy does not mean that policy currently meets or exceeds this ordinance’s requirements. Two things to watch for is whether the PTO policy defines “family member” as broadly as the ordinance defines it, and whether it provides for carryover of accrued but unused time.
  • Employers of construction industry employees have the option of satisfying the requirements of the statute by paying at least the prevailing wage rate or at least the required rate established in an applicable apprenticeship agreement for apprentices, regardless of whether the employee is working on a public or private project.
  • Employees may report suspected violation of the ordinance to the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which has the sole discretion to pursue an investigation. Penalties can include reinstatement and back pay, crediting to employees accrued but uncredited or withheld time plus payment of the dollar value of the uncredited or withheld time multiplied by two, an administrative penalty of up to $1,500, and further administrative fines of up to $50.00 per day for continued violations

Employers with employees in the City of Minneapolis should: (i) review their existing PTO or sick leave benefits to ensure they meet the ordinance’s requirements; (ii) review and revise anti-retaliation policies to include rights under the new ordinance; (iii) obtain and post workplace posters once made available by the City; and (iv) revise employee handbooks consistent with the requirements of the ordinance.

If you would like assistance determining whether your business or your employees may be subject to the new ordinance, updating your employee handbooks, or if you have questions about anything in this article, please contact Martin Kappenman at mkappenman@seatonlaw.com, or any of the other Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson, P.A. attorneys.

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