Paid sick time recommendations forwarded to Council

The Workplace Partnership Group voted 13-1 Monday to present the City Council with recommendations for a new mandatory paid sick time policy for city workers. Photo by Sarah McKenzie

The Workplace Regulations Partnership Group voted Monday to forward its recommendations for a new mandatory citywide paid sick time ordinance to the City Council.

The proposed sick time regulation would apply to employers with at least four Minneapolis workers and give small businesses with 24 or fewer employees an additional six months to implement the policy.

Workers would be able to accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers would have the option of putting an annual cap on paid sick time at 48 hours per worker.

The 19-member group, made up of workers, organized labor, employers and representatives of business groups, voted 13-1 to support the recommendations. One member also abstained from voting.

Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer voted against the recommendations and said the business leaders he represents had concerns about Minneapolis implementing the policy on its own and the potential impact on small businesses.

In a minority statement that will also be submitted to the Council, Cramer outlined several concerns about the proposed policy. He has advocated for a partnership approach that would expand access to paid sick time with a set of goals for employers to strive for rather than establishing a mandate for businesses.

“For individuals who told their story, the underlying issue they often described is the effect of poverty compounded by growing income inequality,” Cramer wrote. “These are large and challenging forces for our nation to address. It’s debatable what contribution, if any, a municipal paid sick leave requirement makes in solving them.”

Partnership group member Ron Harris, a community organizer with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, celebrated the group’s work. He shared a story about the impact a policy could have had on his family. He said his mother lost her job caring for him when he was sick as a baby. He had pneumonia twice and nearly died, he said.

The group will present its recommendations and findings to the Council’s Committee of the Whole on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The City of St. Paul also has a task force studying paid sick leave ordinances. House DFL lawmakers also recently introduced legislation that would create a new family leave insurance program for Minnesota workers.

More than 100,000 workers in Minneapolis lack access to paid sick time.