The Minneapolis city council has approved an ordinance requiring employers with six or more employees to provide up to 48 hours of paid sick leave each year. Employers with five or fewer employees will be required to provide up to 48 hours of unpaid sick leave.  The ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2017.

Under the law, covered employees, including part-time and temporary employees, who work at least 80 hours per year in Minneapolis, will be eligible to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a total accrual of 48 hours per year. Employees will be permitted to rollover unused sick leave into the following year, with a maximum accumulation of 80 hours.

Leave may be taken for:

  • the physical or mental illness, injury, or health condition or the employee or a covered family member, including the need for medical diagnosis, care, treatment, or preventative care;
  • treatment, counseling, relocation, or legal proceedings associated with instances of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking relating to the employee or a covered family member;
  • care for a covered family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to inclement weather, loss of power or utilities, or other unexpected closure; or
  • the closure of the employee’s place of business or the need to care for a covered family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency.

Employees will be entitled to begin using accrued time 90 calendar days following commencement of their employment. Employers may require reasonable documentation of the need for leave under the law for absences of more than 3 consecutive days.

The ordinance provides for a delayed implementation period for new businesses, under which new businesses (other than chain establishments) may offer unpaid leave only during the first year of business, following which they must provide paid leave if they have six or more employees. However, this delayed implementation provision will cease to have effect five years following the effective date of the law.

During the first year of the law, employers who incur a first offense (other than for retaliation against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the law) will be subject to warnings and notices to correct, including, where appropriate, payment of improperly held wages and reinstatement. However, second violations of the law during the first year, as well as initial violations starting in the second year of the law, will carry monetary penalties of up to $1,500, payable to the employee, and fines of $50 per day of noncompliance, payable to the city, in addition to payment of improperly withheld wages, liquidated damages (subject to a cap), and reinstatement with back pay, as appropriate.

The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, which will be responsible for enforcing the ordinance, will be issuing an official notice of employee rights, which employers shall be required to post in a conspicuous place at every covered workplace or job site. Employers also shall be required to include a notice of employee rights under the ordinance in employee handbooks and policy manuals.