Some 150,000 workers in Minneapolis and St. Paul will start accruing earned sick and safe time Saturday, July 1, thanks to ordinances approved by their city councils and protected by a veto from Governor Mark Dayton.
Advocates say it is a victory for all of Minnesota and should lead to similar policies in other communities.
The ordinances – approved in 2016 – were the result of years of collective action by several organizations and individuals.
“Many families will be able to take off when ill or to care for a sick child,” said ISAIAH, a faith group whose members fought hard for the ordinances.
Starting Saturday, workers will accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours per year. They may use their paid time for illness or medical care for themselves or their families. They may use it for “safe time,” to seek counseling, legal support or to relocate in the event of domestic or sexual violence or stalking.
The ordinances also cover parents needing to stay home because of the closure of childcare centers or schools.
The measures have enforcement provisions, including steep fines for employers who fail to provide earned sick and safe time.
In the final days of the 2017 legislative session, Dayton vetoed a preemption bill that would have prevented local governments from enacting ordinances on earned sick and safe time, minimum wage and other labor standards. As a result, advocates say, Minneapolis and St. Paul have some of the strongest sick time ordinances in the country.
This article includes information from the ISAIAH website.