MINNEAPOLIS -- New sick leave ordinances go into effect on July 1 in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Employees who work at least 80 hours per year within the city of Minneapolis or the city of St. Paul are eligible for paid sick and safe time.
An employee accrues one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. An employer may cap an employee's accrual at 48 hours per year. Employees may also carry over unused sick time year to year up to a maximum of 80 hours.
Accrued hours can be used for many reasons including an illness, medical appointments, caring for a sick family member or situations involving domestic abuse.
"As of Saturday, these ordinances will be live and employers are going to be expected to be complying with them," said Megan Anderson, partner at the Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty.
Anderson has been working with employers on the new rules.
"Some of them have already had generous enough policies in place that they really didn't have to make many changes. We also have clients who had some significant areas where they weren't compliant with the ordinance," Anderson said.
Jeremy LaFond, executive chef at Mission American Kitchen and Bar in downtown Minneapolis, said the restaurant had to put together some new guidelines ahead of July 1.
"We had a meeting yesterday posting it to the staff and letting them know what we can do and what our protocols are when somebody calls in sick and then when we put it through the system and turn it over to HR. So they document it just to make sure all our bases are covered," LaFond said.
LaFond said employees will be able to view how many hours they have available to use on their paychecks. Mission American Kitchen and Bar employs 50-60 workers.
"It's just something new and once you get used to it, it'll be something that'll operate very smoothly," LaFond said.
There are some exceptions for smaller employers. In Minneapolis, employers with five or fewer employees must provide sick and safe time but they may choose for it to be unpaid. Meanwhile in St. Paul, employers with 23 or fewer employees have until January 1, 2018 to comply.
Anderson said there could be penalties for employers who do not comply.
"One of the non-monetary penalties that could be pretty significant for a business is that if you have a license of some kind through the city, one of the penalties that the city can impose is suspending or revoking your city license if you're not in compliance," Anderson said.
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has appealed a Hennepin County District Court judge's ruling that the Minneapolis ordinance can go forward, for the most part, as planned.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on July 11.
According to Cam Winton, director of labor management policy at Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the court has 90 days to issue a decision.
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