Minneapolis & St. Paul Employers: Prepare for New Paid Time Off and Minimum Wage Laws
Employers in Minneapolis and St. Paul should begin preparing themselves for the reality that they will be forced to begin offering paid time off to all employees soon. Pending ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota require that all employers offer guaranteed time off to employees and are set to take effect on July 1. For smaller employers in St. Paul, the ordinance will take effect January 1, 2018. Once effective, all employees working within the cities' limits for employers with operations also within the cities' limits will begin to accrue time off that they can use for their own sickness or safety, or for the sickness or safety of an immediate family member. They will also be able to carryover the time off from year to year, though there are limits to these accrual and carryover rules employers should familiarize themselves with. Employees in both cities will begin to accrue the time at 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, with a cap of 48 hours/year. In St. Paul, all employees will accrue paid time off, while in Minneapolis only employers with 6 or more employees will be required to offer employees paid time off. For really small employers in Minneapolis, employees will continue to accrue the time off, but it will not be paid.
Majorities in the MN House and Senate have been trying to stop the Cities from implementing these employee-favorable laws, having gone as far as passing bills in their respective bodies prohibiting cities and counties in the state from having their own workplace rules that differ from the State's laws. Either it is not that important to representatives, they have failed to manage their time in session effectively, or they know that the Governor will veto any bill they come up with. Whatever the reason, thus far they have failed to meet and conference on their respective bills, or to propose a joint bill for each to agree upon that could be presented to the Governor for the chance to become a law. Maybe in the final three days of the legislative session something productive will happen on this issue and relieve Minneapolis and St. Paul employers from these additional onerous workplace rules, but I would not bet on it. As a result, employers in Minneapolis and St. Paul should gear up for compliance with the new sick and safety leave laws.
Moreover, with mayoral candidates in Minneapolis each clamoring to be more employee-friendly than the next, talk of a $15.00/hour minimum wage has been a hot topic with seemingly little push-back from the candidates. Employers in Minneapolis should anticipate they will be joining Seattle, Los Angeles and a growing list of cities and states raising their minimum wage to $15.00/hour, and would be advised to begin preparing for a significant increase in the minimum wage from its current state level of $9.50/hour.
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