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Thoughtful process, engaged community: Workplace Regulations Partnership Group

MinnPost photo by James Nord
Liz Doyle

Over the past three months, the Workplace Regulations Partnership Group (WPG), which was tasked with recommending an earned sick time ordinance for the City of Minneapolis, has brought a diverse group of stakeholders to the table. Fifteen individuals, each with a unique perspective, came together to study the impact of policies related to earned sick time and paid time off. Our work together culminated in a final proposal presented to the Minneapolis City Council earlier this month.

The City Council established the WPG last year and appointed members to include representation from a range of stakeholder groups including employees, low-wage employees, organized labor, large employers, small employers, immigrant-owned businesses and representatives of business groups and associations. The WPG held eleven productive meetings to exchange ideas and draft language. 

The group engaged the community to hear as many Minneapolis voices on the issue as possible. Through listening sessions and comment cards, we heard from more than 550 of the individuals most likely to be affected by this law, from across the city and from different economic, cultural and racial backgrounds. 

Jim Rowader

The WPG worked to strike a compromise that allows enough sick time to be meaningful to employees and less burdensome for employers to implement. The recommended policy would allow employees to earn sick time through an accrual system at the start of employment, resulting in about six days of sick time for most employees annually.

To take into account the varying size of employers, businesses with one to three employees should allow employees to take necessary time off, but the set amount of paid time is up to the employer’s discretion. Employers with fewer than 24 employees would, under the proposal, be able to delay implementation so that they can adjust to the new policy.

It is our hope that the City Council will take the months of community engagement, as well as the experience and expertise of the members of the WPG, into account as they consider a paid sick leave proposal. As with any compromise there was give and take, and not all members agree with every detail. However, we have presented a set of recommendationsa that reflected the common ground the group was able to reach.

We commend the Minneapolis City Council for establishing a thoughtful process to take into account community views before crafting an ordinance, and recognize the commitment of the WPG membership in dedicating their time to help the Councilmembers make a better informed decision as they move forward. Additional nuances, background information and resources on the process can be viewed in the full policy recommendations available on the City of Minneapolis website.

Liz Doyle and Jim Rowader served as the chair and vice-chair of the Workplace Regulations Partnership Group. 

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 04/04/2016 - 08:54 am.

    What about employers with 25 workers? I see the WPG came up with a system where it is up to the employer to decide if he will give paid sick leave if he employs 3 or less folks, no change there. If you employ less than 25 folks you are able to delay implementation of the program, for how long?

    I agree with the ability for employees to earn up to 6 days of paid leave. I would like to see what the criteria is for earning those sick days. Thank goodness the WPG didn’t come up with a system that would crush small businesses with another burden making it impossible for start ups and in the end, hurting the very workers they think they are helping.

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