The City of St. Paul recently passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide sick leave for employees. The ordinance, St. Paul City Ordinance 16-29 (available here), will be phased in beginning July 1, 2017. The ordinance is very similar to one passed earlier this year by the city of Minneapolis, but applies to all employers, regardless of size. If you’re an employer in the Twin Cities metro area, familiarize yourself with these requirements.

Leave Requirements
The ordinance requires employers to provide employees with one hour of sick/safe leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees may earn up to 80 hours of leave per year, but may only use 48 per year. Any leftovers carry over to the next calendar year, which is also subject to the 48-hour annual usage cap. Upon termination of the employment relationship, an employer does not need to compensate an employee for unused leave.

The ordinance applies to “any person who is employed by the employer, including temporary and part-time employees, who perform work within the geographic boundaries of the city for at least eighty (80) hours in a year for that employer.” Leave can be taken to attend to the employee’s illness or injury or that of a family member. It can also be taken for preventive healthcare needs or to a care for a family member whose school or “place of care” has been closed due to weather, loss of power, etc.

There’s no small-business exemption from the ordinance (an “Employer” is defined as having one or more employees). However, two important exemptions apply: 1) independent contractors are not considered employees; and 2) construction-industry employers may be found in compliance if they pay a prevailing wage in accord with Minn. Stat. § 177.42 as calculated by the MN Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), or if they pay DLI-registered apprentices according to a registered apprenticeship agreement.

Accrual of leave for existing employees begins on date ordinance takes effect; new hires accrue leave from the date of hire. Both are eligible to use leave within 90 days of hire. Employers with existing paid-leave policies providing the same benefits as those in the ordinance do not have to provide additional paid leave. Employers must retain records of accrued sick and safe time for 3 years. The ordinance requires employers to keep “records which document the 1) hours worked by employees, 2) the accrual of earned sick and safe time, and 3) the use of earned sick and safe time.”