Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Expands to Employers Outside the City

May 01, 2019
Inside HR
HR Compliance
Paid Sick Leave
Read time: 3 mins

The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance has been in litigation for well over a year and on April 29, 2019, the Minnesota Court of Appeals officially reversed the district court’s injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance against employers who are not residents in the city. In other words, companies doing business in the City of Minneapolis, but not located in the City of Minneapolis, must track time spent in the city and pay sick and safe leave benefits according to the Minneapolis ordinance.

Key Takeaway
Due to the court ruling, the city of Minneapolis is changing its administrative rules and frequently asked questions regarding the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. The decision effectively reinstates paid sick and safe leave requirements for all employers who have employees working in Minneapolis—even if the employer's physical location is not in Minneapolis. Minneapolis will accept comments on the proposed changes to the rules and FAQs through June 7. Therefore, as of today, employers based outside of Minneapolis will be subject to enforcement after the rule changes take effect. 

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has indicated that it will likely appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court to try to get the injunction reinstated.

Non-Minneapolis employers who are not currently tracking hours worked by their employees within the city should immediately begin doing so to ensure that paid sick and safe time is provided and that other requirements of the ordinance (such as record-keeping) are being met.

For reference, here is the history of the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance and its provisions:

On May 27, 2016, the City Council of Minneapolis passed a new mandatory paid sick leave ordinance that applies to EVERY employer with six or more employees if they have ONE employee in the City of Minneapolis. The effective date was July 1, 2017.

Here is a brief summary of the current Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time law:

  • Employers with six or more employees are covered.
  • Employers must provide paid sick leave to full-time and part-time workers who work at least 80 hours in a calendar year within the geographic boundaries of the City of Minneapolis.
  • The regular rate of pay that must be paid while using sick and safe leave excludes tips, commissions, bonuses, premium overtime pay, expense reimbursements, and certain other payments.
  • Workers earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours of sick leave per year.
  • The total amount of accrued but unused leave for an employee will not exceed 80 hours at any time, unless the employer agrees to a higher amount. The accrual rate is in one-hour increments only.
  • Employers may "front-load" sick and safe time by providing at least 48 hours of sick and safe time following an employee’s initial 90 days of employment for use during the first calendar year, and by providing at least 80 hours of sick and safe time at the beginning of the calendar year.
  • The leave may be used by employees when they are ill, or when they care for a sick family member. It also covers "safety leave," to be used to deal with domestic abuse, stalking, or other personal safety concerns. It is also available when the employee needs to take time off to care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected closure.
  • Employers are not required to pay out unused time upon the employee's termination.
  • There are posting and records retention requirements (3 years) for employers.

Source: Michael Hyatt, Director, HR Government Affairs, MRA – The Management Association