Duluth, Minnesota Enacts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Beginning in 2020

On May 30, 2018, the Duluth City Council adopted Ordinance No. 10571, which requires private employers to provide paid sick and safe leave to employees. The ordinance takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and Duluth joins Minneapolis and St. Paul to become the third city in Minnesota to enact a paid sick and safe time law.

The Duluth city ordinance requires private employers with at least five employees to provide employees with one hour of paid leave off for every 50 hours on the job, for up to 64 leave hours a year for employees that: (i) work in Duluth more than 50 percent of their working time in a 12-month period; or (ii) are based in Duluth, spend a substantial part of time working in Duluth, and don't spend more than 50 percent of work time in a 12-month period in any other particular place. The Duluth ordinance applies to an employer regardless of whether the employer is actually physically located in the city. Once the law goes into effect, employees may use accrued leave for sick and safe time purposes after 90 calendar days of employment. Employers are only required to allow an employee to carry over 40 hours of leave into the following year.

Covered sick time purposes include a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of the same, and preventive medical care. For safe time purposes, leave may be used to provide or receive assistance for domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of an employee or family member. Employers that have existing paid leave policies that provide an amount of paid leave that is at least as beneficial in the way that it may be used and under the same conditions (including the law's accrual and carry-over requirements) as the Ordinance aren't required to provide additional sick time.

Once the law takes effect, employers must notify employees that they're entitled to earn sick and safe time, the amount thereof and the terms of its use under the law. In addition, employers must keep records documenting hours worked as well as leave accrued and used.

As for takeaways for employers, the law doesn't take effect until 2020, so employers don't need to worry too much about this ordinance at this point. The law does include notification and record-keeping requirements, so employers should be mindful of upcoming compliance requirements. Additional guidance will likely be forthcoming. Ultimately, employers that have employees in Duluth will want to work with outside counsel to incorporate the new Ordinance's requirements into their overall leave policy.

Duluth, Minnesota Ordinance No. 10571 »