In response to the new ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul covering paid sick leave requirements for all businesses, the state legislature has been busy drafting their own legislation which would overturn these local rules and, in addition, block other Minnesota cities from adopting their own sick leave ordinances, raising the minimum wage, or enacting other workplace rules.
Currently, this legislation is going back and forth between the House and Senate and is championed by a Republican majority that are concerned these new local ordinances could be detrimental to the state’s economy and economic development prospects. The concern is that inconsistent labor standards may be confusing to local and prospective businesses, especially small businesses, and place additional burdens on business owners, making them look elsewhere for potential locations. Critics of the state’s efforts point out that it removes decision-making authority from local governments and local populations, especially considering the extensive research and public commenting that was undertaken before enacting the ordinances.
In addition to blocking local governments from raising minimum wage and passing sick leave ordinances, the proposed bill would also block cities from making local rules on workplace scheduling and other benefits. Further, it would be retroactive, undoing the ordinances put into effect in Minneapolis and St. Paul. So far, those two are the only cities to enact such ordinances, but other cities in the state are exploring possibilities. Further, Minneapolis officials are considering increasing the local minimum wage to $15 per hour over the state-wide minimum of $7.75 or $.9.50 for business with half in million or more in gross annual sales.
So far, Governor Dayton has indicated that he has concerns about efforts to limit the decision-making authority of local municipalities, especially on labor and business-related issues. Whether this is about freedom of local businesses or their local governments to make the decision seems to depend on who you talk to, with people on both sides having strong opinions. Some come out strongly in favor of allowing the local business to retain as much control as possible and allow each business to make its own decision while others believe that leaving the decision-making authority with local governments means citizens have the ability to make more direct, positive impact on their daily lives.
With the law still in flux, it’s important for business owners to be sure they have policies in place that will meet local ordinances. If you would like assistance ensuring your sick leave or paid time off policies comply with current rules, reach out to Virtus Law Firm. We can help you make necessary changes and keep you abreast of changes in the law and the resulting impacts for you in the event the state’s law does pass. Contact us today by calling 612.888.1000 or emailing us at email@example.com.