Starting July 1, 2017, workers in Minneapolis will accrue 1 hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, as passed by the Minneapolis City Council. The Sick and Safe Time Ordinance was created to allow employees to care for themselves and family members, "making Minneapolis a healthier, more secure, and more productive community."
As a small business owner, how will you prepare to account for this time? The following information and tips for compliance are a start.
Who is Eligible
The Sick and Safe Time Ordinance applies to all employees who work within Minneapolis city limits. All types of employees qualify, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, paid interns, and temporary staff. Employees earn a minimum rate of 1 hour of paid (at customary rates and benefits) of sick and safe time off for every 30 hours worked.
However, if there are 5 or fewer employees in an organization, the time off may be unpaid. Employers must front-load time or allow each employee to accrue at least 48 hours per year, which must carry over from year to year, until reaching 80 accrued and unused sick and safe time hours during subsequent years.
All new businesses are required to provide unpaid sick time. However, new businesses with six or more workers are required to provide paid sick time after one year. This new business exemption will lift in 2022.
Sick and Safe Time Usage
Employees can use their leave for all of the reasons outlined by the ordinance:
- Treatment, recuperation, or preventative care for a medical or mental health condition, illness, or injury
- To seek law enforcement, counseling, or other services for domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking
- Closure of an employee’s place of business due to public health emergency
- Needs related to the medical health, mental health, or physical safety of a family member (child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandparent, or member of household); or unexpected closure of a family member’s school or place of care, including inclement weather
Requirements of Employer
Upon request by an employee, an employer must provide, in writing or electronically, information stating the employee’s then-current amount of:
- Accrued sick and safe time available to the employee
- Used sick and safe time
For use of sick and safe time off, employers may require advance notice as soon as practicable – not more than 7 days – and reasonable explanation of need.
Steps to Comply with the Ordinance
If you're handling your own payroll, we recommend following these steps to stay in compliance:
- Review your current PTO policies
- Determine if your current PTO policies need adjustment to remain compliant
- Modify your policies, if necessary, and update employee handbooks
- Establish, document, and communicate PTO policies with employees
- Implement payroll processes and/or software to correctly accrue required benefit hours
- Implement payroll processes and/or software to correctly display used and available hours
- Implement time clock solutions for tracking where employees are working
- Download required posters and display them appropriately
Penalties for Noncompliance
The City of Minneapolis will implement enforcement in phases. The Department of Civil Rights will investigate complaints. Penalties may vary as needed to gain cooperation and compliance. Retaliation against employees is strictly prohibited.
Violations concerning not crediting earned sick and safe time:
- Credit the employee for any accrued sick and safe time not previously credited, plus
- Payment to the employee the dollar value of the accrued sick and safe time not credited multiplied by 2 or $250, whichever is higher
Violations concerning unlawfully withholding earned sick and safe time:
- Payment to the employee for any accrued sick and safe time unlawfully withheld, plus
- Payment to the employee the dollar value of the accrued sick and safe time unlawfully withheld multiplied by 2 or $250, whichever is higher
Violations of confidentiality and nondisclosure or exercise of rights:
- Up to $1500 administrative penalty payable to the employee for each violation
Violations of notice and posting, required employee statement, and employer records:
- Administrative fine payable to the city for $50/day (min 5 days) following written notice
As with any new ordinance affecting small businesses, there's a learning curve when it comes to compliance. Should you have any questions about the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance or payroll for your small business, contact us for a complimentary consultation. We're here to help small businesses thrive!