Chamber of Commerce Sues Minneapolis Over Sick Time Rules

Minneapolis’s ordinance regarding paid sick time drew the ire of local businesses recently and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has filed suit against the new regulations.

In May, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a regulation requiring all employers with six or more employees to offer paid sick time. For every 30 hours worked, an employee would earn an hour of paid sick leave, up to 48 hours per year. This would apply to all employees who work at least 80 hours in a given year. Employees would also be able to carry over up to 80 hours of sick leave on to the next year.

The Chamber is requesting an injunction to prevent the ordinance going into effect starting July 2017. They also hope for a court order declaring the law “is invalid because it conflicts with and is preempted by state law” according to legal documents. Specifically, there is already a state law which regulates sick leave, and it does not require businesses to provide it.

“Minnesota law prohibits cities from enacting ordinances that conflict with state law — but that’s exactly what Minneapolis has done,” Chamber President Doug Loon said in a statement, reports the Star Tribune, “Regardless of how well intentioned the Minneapolis ordinance is, it’s unworkable and unlawful, so we’ve asked the court to strike it down.”

Another issue employers have is the logistical headache that varying regulations on sick time would have on employee movability.

“We move our employees between our locations across the metro, based on business needs,” said Patrick McHale, president and CEO of Minneapolis based Graco, as reported in Finance and Commerce, “When cities enact different rules, it’s no longer an option to move employees due to these differences in pay and benefits packages.”

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal says she is confident of the city’s ability to defend the ordinance in court.

St. Paul passed a similar ordinance last month. Regulations for that are due to be published by or prior to April 1.

Anders Koskinen