While many Minneapolis and St. Paul kids rejoiced about school closures during the polar vortex of 2019, many parents likely wondered: will I have to lose a paycheck to stay home with my kids? Or, while some employees could continue to perform their work duties from the comforts of their own homes, others dreaded their inability to physically get to work and thus earn a paycheck.
Sick and Safe Time in Minnesota
Luckily, as of July, 2017, Minneapolis and St. Paul employees are covered by “Sick and Safe Time” ordinances. With its coverage of illness, injury, and medical treatment, Sick and Safe Time also covers care of a family member. The term “family member” has no age restriction, and anyone ranging from an infant to an elderly adult is covered by this term. Safe Time also applies when work places, schools, or places of care are closed for a public health hazard. Therefore, in cases of deadly weather, many employees are enabled to use their accrued Sick and Safe Time (which accrues at one hour per thirty hours worked).
Minneapolis and St. Paul’s ordinances are very similar, but Minneapolis contains a few more exemptions. Namely, in Minneapolis, employers with six or more employees must provide paid Sick and Safe Time; meanwhile employers with five or fewer employees are not required to pay, they must still provide Sick and Safe Time. In both cities, employees do not need to specifically ask for Sick and Safe Time; they simply must state their need for an absence for a reason covered by the Ordinance. Also, employers may not require employees to find their own replacements to “cover a shift” as a condition for using Sick and Safe Time. When employees provide legitimate reasons to utilize their Sick and Safe Time, employers must not hinder their employees from accessing it.
Sick and Safe Time is especially beneficial to employees working in lower wage, part time, or higher turnover jobs. Also, Sick and Safe Time protects employees regardless of their immigration status. As access to paid leave and ability to take paid leave are not available equally across populations of different incomes and ethnicities, this ordinance attempts to address these disparities to promote equal health and safety to all.
Employers may not retaliate against an employee for utilizing or attempting to utilize their Sick and Safe Time. If you believe you have been retaliated against for trying to utilize Sick and Safe Time or you feel that you have been denied Sick and Safe Time rights, please contact us. Schaefer Halleen Minneapolis Employment Law Attorney would be happy to discuss the situation and analyze how to assist you with your case. Otherwise, you may report the violation at http://sicktimeinfo.minneapolismn.gov/report-a-violation.html.