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Minneapolis sick-leave fight headed to MN Supreme Court

A major business group calls it a "one-size-fits-all mandate."

Minneapolis has scored a victory in its fight to implement a controversial sick-leave ordinance – but the legal battle over the law is far from finished. 

On Monday, the state court of appeals issued a ruling upholding the ordinance, which would force employers with six workers or more to pay those workers an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.

It's a setback for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which had sued to block the law – but the organization now says it will appeal Monday's decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

"We respectfully believe that the (appeals) court misapplied the law regarding the city’s authority," chamber President Doug Loon said in a statement received by GoMN. 


Supporters, critics of mandatory paid sick leave make cases to Mpls. council

However, the organization did praise the court for making clear that Minneapolis can't make "employers located outside the city limits" provide workers with certain paid leave benefits. 

The ordinance, as originally written, would have "potentially" covered companies physically outside Minneapolis, but the Hennepin County District Court issued an injunction against that part of the law in January, Society for Human Resource Management reported.

Minneapolis passed the law in May 2016, and it was due to take effect on July 1, 2017. 

Why the chamber is suing

In short, the business group says the ordinance would put an unfair burden on Minneapolis companies. 

The chamber's release describes it as a "one-size-fits-all mandate" that "stifles the flexibility and creativity of businesses to best meet the needs of employers and employees alike."

Additionally, employers will face "administrative burdens" that include having to hire lawyers to interpret the ordinance, according to the release.

"The ordinance is the first time that a Minnesota city has intruded into the private employer-employee relationship by mandating terms of employment beyond those required by state law," the chamber says. 

The chamber also noted its continuing effort to lobby for a law that prevents individual Minnesota cities from passing their own wage and benefits regulations. Such a law was passed earlier this year, but it was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.

GoMN has reached out to the city of Minneapolis for comment on the story. 

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