Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance to Take Effect

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 2, 2016

The Minneapolis City Council has approved a comprehensive ordinance that will require private employers to provide sick and safe leave to employees starting July 1, 2017. Employers with at least six employees will have to provide paid leave. Those with five or fewer employees will be permitted to provide unpaid leave.

Under the ordinance, whether the leave is paid or unpaid, covered employees will be able to accrue up to 48 hours of sick and safe time each year, and use the leave in increments of up to four hours. An employee is covered by the ordinance if he or she works within Minneapolis for at least 80 hours in a calendar year on either a full-time, part-time or even temporary basis.

Independent contractors and government workers who are not employed by the City are not covered by the ordinance. Construction industry employers will not have to provide leave if they pay workers or apprentices at the prevailing wage or the rate required by an apprenticeship agreement.

For the first five years the ordinance is in effect (until July 1, 2022), new employers (in non-chain establishments only) may provide unpaid sick and safe time to all employees for the first 12 months after they hire their first employee. After the first 12 months, however, the leave must be paid if the employer has at least six employees.

Employees working in Minneapolis will be able to accrue unpaid leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to an annual maximum of 48 hours. Exempt employees will accrue leave time based on a 40-hour workweek, or the employees' normal workweek if that is less than 40 hours.

An employer must permit employees to begin using leave after the first 90 calendar days of employment. After that time, the leave may be used for any of the following purposes:

  • The employee's or a family member's (as defined by the ordinance) mental or physical illness or injury or to obtain a diagnosis, treatment or preventive care;
  • Domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of the employee or a family member (as defined by the ordinance) if seeking medical attention, counseling, legal or other services;
  • Closure of the workplace by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin, hazardous material or other public emergency; or
  • To care for a family member when a school or place of care is closed due to bad weather or other unexpected reasons.

Employees will be entitled to carry over up to 80 hours of accrued leave into the following year. The ordinance does not require an employer to pay out unused accrued leave when an employee terminates employment.

Other provisions included in the ordinance pertain to leave requests and certifications, confidentiality and nondisclosure, payment of wages and benefits during leave, reinstatement, transfer and succession, notice, posting and recordkeeping requirements, enforcement, remedies and penalties.