Minneapolis has issued a FAQ regarding COVID-19 and the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. In short, the document outlines how the city of Minneapolis is “interpreting” the ordinance as it relates to earned sick and safe time (ESST). While I believe they are taking some liberties with their interpretation of the ordinance, employers
Employer Obligations Under the Federal Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First Act or FFCRA) into law which, among other things, amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA). Here is what employers need to know about Public Health Emergency Leave (“PHEL”):
DOL Clarifies Employees May Not Use PTO In Lieu of FMLA Leave
On March 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Opinion Letter FMLA2019-1-A. While most opinion letters do not come a surprise to me, this one I cannot say the same…more like a deer-in-the-headlights type of moment (I knew some of you were wondering what in the heck a deer had to do…
Employer Had Legitimate, Non-Discriminatory Reason for Terminating Employee Upon Return from FMLA Leave
Employers are often surprised to learn that employees may be terminated while on (or after) Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or other type of protected leave. The key, however, is that there needs to be some sort of unrelated intervening event such as in the case of Naguib v. Trimark Hotel Corp. On September 12,…
DOL Opinion Letter: Organ Donation Surgery Qualifies For FMLA Leave
According to Donate Life America, every 10 minutes another person is added to the waiting list for an organ. Twenty-two (22) people die each day waiting, and yet one organ/eye/tissue donor can save and heal more than 75 lives. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 114,370 people are currently waiting for…
Employers May Freeze Attendance Points During FMLA Leave – With Caution
The U.S. Department of Labor’s August 28, 2018 Opinion Letter FMLA2018-1-A confirms that, in certain circumstances, an employer may “freeze” an employee’s attendance points during periods of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Attendance points are often used in a manufacturing or other settings when attendance is critical and HR needs a simple way to…
US DOL Issues Six New Opinion Letters – First FMLA Guidance Since 2009
On August 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued 6 new opinion letters, 2 related to the FMLA which has not occurred since 2009. While I’ll write about them separately, this is exciting news! The letters provide employers with compliance assistance related to the administration of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and…
DOL Issues Opinion Letter Regarding Compensation of Frequent Breaks for Serious Health Condition Under FMLA
On April 12, 2018, the U.S. DOL issued Opinion Letter FLSA2018-19 regarding the compensability of frequent breaks. As the DOL notes, most employers provide employees a 20 minute (or less) paid break in the morning, a 30 minute (or more) unpaid lunch break, and 20 minute paid afternoon break. In this case, several employees had…
Be Careful Not To Interfere With FMLA Leave – Mandatory Overtime Must Be Counted Towards FMLA Entitlement
On May 13, 2016, in Hernandez v. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals held that mandatory overtime hours may be deducted from an employee’s FMLA leave entitlement, but similarly, mandatory overtime hours must be included when calculating total FMLA leave entitlement. In other words, an employer can’t have its cake…
Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Approved – Snow Days Covered
On May 27, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, Title 2, Chapter 40 – Workplace Regulations. The final Ordinance mandates unpaid sick and safe leave for employers with 1 to 5 employees, and paid sick and safe leave for employers with 6 or more employees. Notably, the final amendment includes not only the use for sick and safe care, but also school snow days.
Below is a quick overview of what the ordinance requires, who it applies to, what burdens employers have, and the implications of a violation. However, time will only tell how this plays out in reality.
What Does the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Require?
The Ordinance, effective July 1, 2017, requires employers to provide employees with paid/unpaid sick and safe time. New employers (with 1 or more employees), will have 12 months to provide unpaid time off. After 12 months, new employers will be subject to the Ordinance in its totality (this 12 month delay will only be allowed for 5 years from the enactment).
Employees working in Minneapolis will accrue sick and safe time unpaid leave at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 worked, up to an annual cap of 48 hours (either calendar or fiscal year). Exempt (salaried) employees are deemed to work 40 hours each week unless their normal workweek is less than 40 hours. Employees must be allowed to use sick and safe time after 90 calendar days of employment. Employers must permit an employee to carry over at least 80 hours of accrued but unused sick and safe time into the following year.
Additionally, sick and safe leave time need not be paid this time out at termination. Employees must be able to use the leave in the same increment of time consistent with current payroll practices and existing employer policies (but no more than 4 hours). They must be compensated at the same hourly rate with the same benefits (except they are not entitled to lost tips or commissions and compensation is only required for the hours the employee was scheduled to work).
Who Is An “Employer” and “Employee” Under the Ordinance?
Does this Ordinance affect your business based in Eden Prairie or Alexandria? It depends on whether you are a covered employer, defined below. The Ordinance defines several terms with specificity, but here it is in a nutshell:…
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