Minneapolis City Council Passes Amendments to Sick and Safe Time Ordinance

10/06/2016 / Phyllis Karasov and Nic Puechner

On Sept. 23, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to enact several amendments to its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which was originally passed on May 27. These amendments come after the city of St. Paul enacted its own Sick and Safe Time Ordinance on Sept. 7.

For an overview of the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance as originally issued, please visit our article here. For a summary of the St. Paul ordinance, please visit our article here.

The substantive changes and clarifications to the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance are as follows:

  • The ordinance clarifies that an employee taking sick and safe time must be compensated his or her “regular rate of pay,” which has been defined as the employee’s hourly rate, including payments for shift differentials when applicable (or an equivalent for an exempt employee). This is the equivalent of the rate at which the employee would have been paid for the hours he or she was scheduled to work. Under the amended ordinance, “regular rate of pay” does not include tips; commissions; expense reimbursements; bonuses; overtime premiums; gifts; payments made pursuant to a bona fide profit-sharing plan or trust or bona fide thrift or savings plan; or employer contributions to old-age, retirement, life, accident, or health-insurance plans.
  • Employers may front-load sick and safe time by providing 48 hours or more to employees following 90 days of employment and at least 80 hours of sick and safe time each subsequent year.
  • Employers offering paid time off or paid leave policies that provide time off consistent with the requirements of the ordinance are not required to provide additional sick and safe time.
  • An employer may record sick and safe time in a manner consistent with its current payroll practice, provided that such records are updated no less frequently than on a monthly basis. All employers, regardless of whether they already provide paid time off, must update record-keeping practices to conform to the ordinance. This includes an obligation to record sick and safe time hours (both available and used) for each employee and, for non-exempt employees, hours worked.
  • Employers are no longer required to track hours worked in Minneapolis by “employees who occasionally perform work in the city.” The decision by the Minneapolis City Council to strike the provision mandating this recordkeeping creates ambiguity in terms of how employers are to record time for employees who do not perform full-time work within the city limits. Similar ambiguity exists in the current version of the St. Paul ordinance. It is hoped that the city of Minneapolis will publish a clear interpretation of the phrase "occasionally perform work."
  • Sick and safe time shall accrue in one-hour increments.

The ordinance will undergo a rulemaking process, which has yet to occur. In addition, a task force is actively engaged in evaluating underlying policy goals. The city is expected to release a document later this month, which will answer a collection of frequently asked questions.