Minneapolis plans vote on paid sick leave policy that could impact 100,000 workers


A plan that would require most Minneapolis businesses to offer paid sick leave to workers could get a full City Council vote this month.

On Thursday morning, the council's Committee of the Whole heard and discussed a draft version of the ordinance.

If passed, the ordinance would apply to Minneapolis employers with six or more employees. Workers would earn an hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, and businesses would have to provide 48 hours in paid sick leave annually. Workers would be able to carry over unused time each year, up to 80 hours.

The city estimates that more than 100,000 people working in Minneapolis don't get paid sick time, and those with no access are disproportionately low-wage workers and people of color.

One criticism is that the sick leave policy isn't being implemented on the state level – so cities around Minneapolis would have different rules, and workers might be less willing to work in places that don't offer paid sick leave.

So other cities are watching closely. A task force in St. Paul is studying recommendations and seeing what is passed in Minneapolis for their own potential sick leave policy, so business owners don't lose workers to Minneapolis, the Pioneer Press reported.

What comes next?

The next step for Minneapolis is a public hearing on Wednesday, May 18 at 3 p.m. There, anyone will be able to offer their opinion on the plan.

After that, there will be an additional committee meeting on May 26, and then a council vote on May 27.

Sick leave in Minneapolis

The plan for sick leave went through a handful of different versions before being shelved last fall.

One proposal that got left out of this draft is employers being forced to give workers at least 14 days notice of their work schedules.

The rate at which workers earn paid sick leave, and which size of businesses would have to follow the new policy, also have seen changes.

There have been rallies and protests from both sides.

Around 75 business leaders met and demonstrated in October to voice their concerns with the "Working Families Agenda," which they said was "unfair and overreaching."

In November, hundreds of workers held a protest and blocked traffic in downtown Minneapolis, rallying for a $15 minimum wage and paid sick leave on top of other workers' rights.

Retail janitors who are contracted to clean stores including Macy’s, Kohl’s and The Home Depot were joined by fast food, airport and retail workers, as well as Black Lives Matter Minneapolis for the protest, according to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Facebook.

Sick leave has been promised on a state level by DFLers, recently in 2015 and 2016, but hasn't moved forward.

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