Twin Cities Businesses Brace for Sick Time Rules Implementation

MINNEAPOLIS – In the next month thousands of businesses across Minneapolis and St. Paul will scramble to comply with sick time regulations that are about to go into effect.

The two cities have slightly different regulations going into place, but both will begin requiring employers to give workers paid sick leave, reports the Star Tribune.

Many companies held off implementing policies to comply with the new regulations, hoping that the Republican-led state legislature would be able to pass a law limiting municipalities’ powers to regulate businesses. The Associated Press reports that in spite of Republicans loading the bill with Democrat friendly policies, Gov. Mark Dayton promised to veto the bill that would have forbade, among other things, cities setting their own minimum wage and sick leave regulations.

Cities are now scrambling to come into compliance, and many will not take up the city on their offer to help.

“Unless you know how my system of payroll works, right here, I’m not sure there’s a lot someone can do for me,” Holly Hatch-Surisook, owner of Sen Yai Sen Lek restaurant in Minneapolis told the Star Tribune. “It’s just another thing to track, and there are so many things to track when you’re a small business wearing all the hats.

Workers will be able to to earn one hour of paid leave for every 30 they work, up to 48 hours of sick leave a year, reports the Star Tribune. Employees can carry over up to 80 hours from one year to the next.

For many businesses, particularly smaller ones that cannot afford a payroll specialist, this can be a complicated thing to keep track of.

“It’s going to be paper and pencil, at least initially,” Ruthena Fink, owner of Grand Jeté dance told the Star Tribune. “Obviously this is time consuming and burdensome for us, as well as [for] lots of small businesses.”

Fink said that she had looked into a higher tech system to keep track of her five-part time employees hours, but at $100 a month it was too expensive for her business.

Small businesses in St. Paul, those employing fewer than 24 people, will not have to offer paid sick leave until January 2018, reports the Star Tribune. In Minneapolis all employers must comply by July 1, but businesses with five or fewer employees need only offer unpaid sick time and safe time.

Anders Koskinen