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Mpls Council Committee Takes First Look At Paid Sick Time Ordinance

The bill would require employers to provide paid time off for employees to tend to illness, domestic abuse and care for family members.

The Minneapolis City Council is a step closer to adopting a citywide paid sick leave policy for all workers.
 
The council’s Committee of the Whole held a special meeting Thursday morning to discuss a draft of the ordinance. If eventually passed, it would go into effect on July 1, 2017.
 
“I am very pleased that earned sick and safe time for Minneapolis workers is one step closer to reality after I first proposed it a year ago,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement.
 
The proposal covers business with six or more employees that perform 80 or more hours of work in the city. Workers would accrue an hour of “sick and safe time” for every 30 hours they work. Employees could accrue 48 hours in a calendar year and carry over hours between calendar years to have as much as 80 hours of paid sick time. Paid sick time can be used after 90 days on the job for a worker’s (or a member of their family’s) mental or physical health, injury, domestic abuse or stalking.
 
Independent contractors, construction workers paid prevailing wages or apprentices, health care providers classified as casual employees, and all government workers except City of Minneapolis employees are exempt from the bill.
 
An analysis by the city found that over 100,000 workers in the city—about 40 percent—lack any paid sick time. That includes more than one-third of workers in fields with significant exposure to the public, such as health care, education, food service and hospitality. Most lacking coverage are low-income and disproportionately women, single parents and people of color.
 
“We are on the verge of enacting a policy that will improve public health for everyone and provide greater opportunity for low-income families,” Hodges said.
 
Paid sick leave was part of a larger package of proposals dubbed the “Working Families Agenda” that included addressing issues like wage theft and scheduling, as well as studying a higher minimum wage within city limits. It came under fire and intense scrutiny last year when businesses, restaurants in particular, pressed back against a “fair scheduling” ordinance that would have required employees getting at least 28 days notice of when they would be scheduled – and be compensated when scheduling changes occurred.
 
Restaurateurs complained about staffing a large patio in the summer only to have it rain and have excessive staff that they wouldn’t be able to cut. And they worried their business concerns with a bill titled the “Working Families Agenda” would make them seem anti-family.
 
“I feel like if you’re against it, you’re against working families,” Jacob Toledo, owner of restaurants like Borough, Cou d’Etat and Marche, said during a meeting of largely small businesses. “We’re not against working families. We’re for making everyone’s life better.”
 
Backers of the proposal eventually created a workgroup that included workers, employers, labor representation and others to hash out a compromise. The language currently under consideration closely matches the working group’s final suggestions.
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