Effective January 1, 2022, Minnesota employers with more than 15 employees will be required to provide PAID “reasonable break times each day” for a new mother (child less than 12 months old) to express breast milk. The Minnesota Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA) currently requires unpaid breaks. It also currently has no age limit, though
Effective July 3, 2019, the City of Minneapolis’ revised rules implementing the Sick & Safe Time Ordinance Rules go into effect. Notably, non-resident employers (employers located outside of Minneapolis but who have employees performing work in Minneapolis) are now subject to enforcement. If non-resident employers provided employees with a paid time off program or paid…
We are less than a month away from the 1-year anniversary of when the Minneapolis and Saint Paul sick and safe time ordinances went into effect. Both cities have recently released a tracking spreadsheet available to employers to compute and track accrual and use of sick and safe time hours. Minneapolis employers can use this…
A year after President Obama’s executive order establishing paid sick leave for federal contractors, the DOL has finally published its final rule, Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors, at 29 CFR Part 13. For those of you not wanting to read all 466 pages of the Final Rule, I’ll try to summarize the…
As predicted in my earlier post, on September 7, 2016, St. Paul joined Minneapolis in unanimously approving a sick and safe leave ordinance – with a very big difference. Unlike Minneapolis, the St. Paul ordinance mandates paid leave be provided by all sizes of employers. For purposes of the St. Paul Ordinance, an “employer”…
Minnesotans – along with the nation – were shocked to learn yesterday that Prince passed away at his home, Paisley Park Studios, in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Naturally, when I heard of all of the memorials and fans headed to Paisley Park to pay their respects (after the rain, nonetheless leaving a beautiful rainbow over the property), …
Well, I don’t want to say I called it but…on April 8, 2016, I wrote a post about Minneapolis’ proposed paid sick leave and managing paid sick leave laws in multiple states, suggesting that this issue is only going to spread. Indeed, it has. Minnesota is proposing a paid sick leave fund comparable to the State of California – but even going beyond (one upping CA?! Impressive feat if passed). Though I didn’t know it then, I now know that on March 10, 2016, State Senators Sieben, Pappas, Franzen, Bakk and Hawj introduced SF2558, “a bill for an act relating to paid family medical leave benefits; establishing a family and medical leave benefit insurance program; imposing a wage tax; authorizing rulemaking; creating an account; appropriating money” and amending the state statutes accordingly. The proposed law has been amended and is currently before the Finance committee in its 3rd engrossment. English = it is still pending and here is the latest version. It proposes to be effective January 1, 2020, though the payroll tax will take effect 2018 (the State needs 2 years of taxes to have money to pay employees this proposed benefit).
Bill Proposes New Payroll Tax (Effective August 1, 2016) on Employers and Employees.
If passed as drafted, a new payroll tax will be imposed on employers with 21 or more employees (working in Minnesota during the past year) starting August 1, 2016. Employees of covered employers would also suffer the new payroll tax. The initial tax rates are 0% for 2017, 0.05% for 2018 and 0.1% for 2019. The rates in 2020 have not been introduced yet. The proposed bill seeks an appropriation in 2017 from the general fund to get the program started.
What happens to the money from the tax? It will go into a new state-run trust fund to be used to replace between 55% – 80% of an employees wages for up to 12 weeks a year for leave to care for family member, pregnancy-related condition and/or to bond with a newborn child (whether biological or adoptive). In addition, if the IRS determines that the benefits are subject to federal income tax, that tax would be withheld.
How Would This Work?
The Commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (“DEED”), currently Katie Clark Sieben, would be tasked with administrating the new benefit insurance program. Accordingly, DEED must create three application forms both for online applications and in paper: (1) family care benefits; (2) bonding benefits; or (3) pregnancy benefits. Once the employee applies, the Commissioner would have 2 weeks to approve or deny the application. If the application is determined “valid” and thus approved, the employee would then be notified of the week when benefits commence, the weekly benefit amount payable, and maximum duration. The employer would also be notified and provided rights to participate in an hearing and appeal process. Denied applications (deemed “invalid”) may be appealed, similar to unemployment, via a hearing before a newly created “benefit judge” (as well as challenges by employers).
What Employees Are Eligible?
An employee would be eligible for leave if the employee performed services for the employer for at least 6 months before the request (note this is less than the 12 months required by FMLA) and for at least 20 hours a week (well, it’s a little more complicated formula, but basically – half-time employees).
What Could Leave Be Taken For?
Minneapolis is one of many cities giving increased attention to mandating a paid sick leave policy. On March 16, 2016, the Minneapolis Workplace Regulations Partnership Group (WPG) (created by Mayor Betsy Hodges and the Minneapolis City Council) submitted its Findings & Recommendations to the Minneapolis City Council. In a nutshell, the WPG recommended the City pass a sick time policy covering all employers “working in the City of Minneapolis regardless of employer location”.
The Proposed Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Policy
The proposed Minneapolis policy (which I won’t get into great detail in this post), would require covered employers to provide employees with paid sick time for themselves or members of extended families and household for mental and physical health. The proposal recommends that employees accrue sick time at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 worked, up to an annual cap of 48 hours. Employees would be allowed to carryover up to 80 hours of accrued, unused sick time – but need not be paid this time out at termination. WPG member Steve Cramer of the Minneapolis Downtown Council (business association representative) submitted a Minority Statement proposing an alternative means to address the Council’s sick leave policy goal and noting several issues with the proposed policy (such as employers who already have a successful flexible PTO policy may not mirror the City’s ordinance, but otherwise achieves the same objectives of paid time off for sickness). It is those concerns that employers are raising – how can we possibly keep up with the nuances of yet another sick leave ordinance when we already have a comprehensive paid time off policy?
Various Paid Sick Leave Laws and Ordinances Already Exist Nationwide
On April 5, 2016, San Francisco became the first city/county in the U.S. to mandate that employers (with 20 or more employees) provide 6 weeks of supplemental compensation for paid paternal leave pursuant to the Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Child Ordinance. While this may not affect many Minnesota employers presently, certainly other cities and counties may follow in a similar fashion and so I thought readers may like to see how this particular ordinance plays out.
The Ordinance is effective January 1, 2017 (for employers with 50 or more employees), July 1, 2017 (for employers with 35-49 employees) and July 2018 (for employers with 20-34 employees). However, as the State of California already provides employees with 55% of their salary for up to 6 weeks for the care of newborns or newly adopted children under its state family leave insurance program, the California Paid Family Leave Act, employees working in San Francisco County (while the term “city” is used – the definition of the ordnance includes San Francisco County within the definition of “city” as the city is the only city within the county) will now be entitled to the remaining 45% from their employer (wherever located – including Minnesota). The weekly benefit amount uses the employee’s highest earning calendar quarter during an approximate 12 month base period – as of January 16, 2016 the maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,129.
Who Is Eligible for Paid Parental Leave in San Francisco?