Minnesota Chamber Sues Minneapolis Over Paid Sick Time Ordinance

Chamber president Doug Loon said lawmakers should not be “imposing a straightjacket with one-size-fits-all mandates.”

Minnesota Chamber Sues Minneapolis Over Paid Sick Time Ordinance
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, along with with five other companies and state agencies, filed a lawsuit Friday morning against the City of Minneapolis claiming its new paid sick time ordinance violates state law.
“The Minnesota Chamber supports businesses providing their employees with flexible, paid options for providing care to their families,” said Chamber president Doug Loon in prepared remarks. “We oppose one-size-fits-all mandates, though.”
Minneapolis’ paid sick time ordinance is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017. Once enacted, businesses in Minneapolis will be required to provide one hour of sick time for every 30 hours an employee works. Workers can earn up to 48 hours of sick time per year with a carryover rule that allows for an 80-hour cap of time off.
The ordinance applies only to businesses with six or more employees, however, the Chamber expressed concern that companies outside of Minneapolis would likely be affected, too.
“Companies that deliver goods and services into the city, who have employees who telecommute from Minneapolis, or who otherwise have employees who attend meetings and events in Minneapolis will find themselves subject to the ordinance — perhaps unwittingly,” the Chamber said.
Minneapolis city attorney Susan Segal, in a statement, said, “We are confident that the City will be able to defend this legal challenge from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. The City’s new landmark Safe and Sick Time Ordinance is a critical step toward protecting the health, safety and general welfare of Minneapolis residents, workers and visitors.”
Joining the Chamber as co-plaintiffs are the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association; Otogawa-Anschel General Contractors and Consultants LLC; the National Federation of Independent Business; the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce; and Minneapolis-based fluid-handling systems and products manufacturer Graco Inc.
“We developed an equivalent solution for paid leave in the 1990s, and it’s been working great ever since, said Graco CEO Patrick J. McHale. “We move our employees between our locations across the metro, based on business needs. We’re able to do that because our pay and benefits are the same. When cities enact different rules, it’s no longer an option to move employees due to these differences in pay and benefits packages.”
Kathy Harrell-Latham, who is the director of public policy at the Minnesota Recruiting and Staffing Association, agreed and noted the ordinance’s chances of affecting workers, as well.
“The ordinance would require recruiting and staffing companies to provide a one-size-fits-all set of benefits to temporary workers even though the benefits packages is up to the end employer,” she said.
“We need consistent, statewide workplace regulations,” said Chamber president Loon. He also expressed concerns about Duluth, which is weighing its options of creating a citywide sick time ordinance, and the City of St. Paul, which recently set a paid sick time ordinance to start July 1, 2017.
“Businesses across the state already are adopting paid leave policies designed to meet the particular needs of their enterprise and their employees,” Loon said. “State and local policymakers should be encouraging this trend and not imposing a straightjacket with one-size-fits-all mandates.”
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