In May 2016, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which is codified in Chapter 40 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances. As a result of this ordinance, an additional 100,000 workers in Minneapolis began to earn paid sick time. Additionally, individuals employed in Minneapolis who work for a business who employs 6 or more employees must earn at least one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked in a calendar year, up to a maximum of 48 hours.
Qualifying for Paid Sick Leave in Minneapolis
In order for you to be considered an employee within Minneapolis, you must work at least 80 hours in a year in the city. The employers must allow employees to carry over unused sick and safe time into the next year, but the total amount of accrued sick and safe time may not exceed 80 hours. Employees can use sick and safe time for their own mental or physical illness, for the care of a sick family member, for an absence due to domestic violence or sexual assault, or for workplace or school closures due to emergencies. Minneapolis employment lawyers viewed this as a great advancement in parental leave rights.
Challenging the Validity of the New Ordinance
After this ordinance was passed, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce challenged its validity in court. Ultimately, in June 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld this ordinance in Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce et. al. v. City of Minneapolis. The Chamber of Commerce challenged the Minneapolis ordinance on two grounds.
First, the Chamber of Commerce argued that Minneapolis’ ordinance could not take effect because it was pre-empted by state law. In other words, the Chamber of Commerce argued that Minnesota statutes already controlled this area of law, paid time off, and therefore Minneapolis’ ordinance could not also govern that same space. The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected this argument. Essentially, the Court ruled that Minnesota’s state statutes did not fully regulate the subject area and the statute did not pre-empt the Minneapolis ordinance.
Next, the Minnesota Supreme Court addressed whether the city ordinance was unconstitutional because it regulated businesses outside Minneapolis’ city limits. The Court determined the primary effect of Minneapolis’ city ordinance was to regulate activity within the city limits, which is allowed. The Court was not persuaded by either of the Chamber of Commerce’s arguments.
A Big Win for Minnesota Parental Leave Rights
The Supreme Court’s decision is a win for parental leave rights in Minnesota and Minneapolis. Minnesota employment lawyers recognize the need for employees to earn paid sick time off to care for themselves and others. Given this court case, you should be earning paid sick time if you are working in Minneapolis. If you believe you should be earning sick time, but are not, then contact a Minneapolis employment attorney soon.