Employers Have a Year to Prepare for the MPLS Sick and Safety Pay Ordinance

June 2016

In May, the City of Minneapolis passed the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance (SSTO) requiring mandatory sick and safety leave for all employees located within the City of Minneapolis.  Minneapolis is currently the only city in Minnesota with such a requirement.  The city’s reasoning for the SSTO is that paid sick and safe days will promote the safety, health and welfare of the people of the city.

The impact of the SSTO is broad, as it applies to all employers who have employees performing at least 80 hours of work per year within the City of Minneapolis, regardless if that employer operates in Minneapolis or in another state (excluding federal, state, county or local governments, other than the City of Minneapolis).  There are also special provisions for health care workers and chain establishments.

Employees eligible for the SSTO leave are any individuals who perform work within the City of Minneapolis for at least 80 hours in a year.  The ordinance requires employers with six or more employees to provide paid sick and safety leave to eligible employees, and requires employers with five or fewer employees to allow employees to take unpaid sick and safety.

The SSTO operates like most sick leave policies, by accruing one hour for every thirty hours worked, maxing out at forty-eight hours per year.  Employees may start using the accrued sick and safety leave time beginning 90 calendar days following commencement of their employment.  SSTO leave may be used for an employee’s or certain family members’ mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, including medical diagnosis, care, preventative care, or treatment, as well as for certain unrelated events, such as government issued snow days.  The SSTO also allows paid time off for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking (and their family members) to participate in legal proceedings, receive medical treatment, or obtain other necessary services.

Employers who violate the SSTO will be subject to penalties and other relief, such as employee reinstatement and back pay.  The SSTO also provides a civil cause of action for the city attorney to seek additional penalties of injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees and costs.  The ordinance does not go into effect until July 1, 2017; therefore, employers will have a year to implement the changes.  Employers may want to take the time to review their vacation and PTO policies now in anticipation of the change.  By July 1, 2022, certain grace periods to allow for employer implementation will sunset, at which point the employer will be subject to full enforcement.  Contact FMJ early to determine if your company will be subject to the new ordinance in 2017 in order to have your company’s current PTO or sick leave policies evaluated.