Minneapolis City Council Considering Requiring Sick Leave and Scheduling Obligations for All Employers

10/13/2015 / Daniel Ballintine

The Minneapolis City Council is currently considering a sweeping new ordinance that would mandate all employers in Minneapolis to provide sick leave to their employees, and impose broad requirements with respect to scheduling shifts. The proposal is supported by Mayor Betsy Hodges and a committee which the city council created earlier this year.

The first major component of the new newly proposed ordinance is earned sick time for all employees. All employees in Minneapolis would earn sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, which they could use 90 days following their first day on the job. Smaller employers with fewer than 21 employees would have their employees capped at 40 hours per year, while employees of larger employers with 21 or more employees would have a cap of 72 hours. Employees would be allowed to use the sick leave for their own health issues and those of other family members, akin to the Family Medical Leave Act.

The second major component of the proposed ordinance would impose “fair scheduling” requirements on all employers. In general, the ordinance would require employers to give advance notice to employees regarding their schedules, and grant broad rights to employees regarding changes in their schedules. The specifics include requiring employers to give employees either 14 or 28 days’ advance notice of their shifts and to inform employees of changes in shifts within 24 hours. If an employer changes an employee’s shift, the employee would be required to consent in writing. After shifts are posted, one hour of “predictability pay” would have to be paid if the employer makes a change. The ordinance also imposes overtime pay requirements on employers including, but not limited to when employees are scheduled more than six days in a row, for shifts exceeding eight hours a day, and when employees have less than 11 hours off between shifts. The proposed ordinance also includes other obligations, including a requirement that employers “promptly evaluate” employee requests for flexible working arrangements, such as accommodations needed for things like child care, schooling, and other outside issues.

The proposed ordinance has set off alarms in the business community. It is open for public comment and those who wish to submit comments should do so no later than October 16, 2015, by submitting an email to workingfamilies@minneapolis.mn.gov. Public meetings for discussion will also be held on October 13.