HR Management & Compliance

Minneapolis employers must prepare for new paid sick leave law

by Dennis Merley

In a unanimous vote, the Minneapolis City Council has passed a paid sick and safe leave ordinance that is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017.

The ordinance covers all employers with one or more employees, but employers with fewer than six employees must provide only unpaid sick and safe leave.

Under the ordinance:

  • Employees will accrue a minimum of one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked.
  • A maximum of 48 hours can be accrued each calendar or fiscal year.
  • Use of paid leave may begin after 90 days on the job.
  • Up to 80 hours can be carried from one year to another.

Employees may use leave (1) for an illness, injury, health condition, or preventive care; (2) to care for a family member for the same reasons; (3) for domestic violence or personal safety issues; (4) for certain business closures by order of a public official; or (5) to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official.

Many in the business community are dissatisfied by what they believe is an anticompetitive measure. A joint statement from the Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce says:

On behalf of businesses throughout Minneapolis and the region, we remain concerned about the many impacts [the] City Council[’s] vote will have on employers and employees alike. It is especially unfortunate that the . . . ordinance will disrupt administration of existing time-off plans [that] provide superior benefits to workers. Despite their good intentions, our elected officials do not know better than the thousands of businesses [that] have developed policies and practices that work well for them and the people they employ. We take Mayor [Betsy] Hodges and Council Members at their word that this is an unintended consequence [that] will be remedied prior to these new mandates going into effect.

Dennis Merley is an attorney with Felhaber Larson in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be reached at