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Legal Alert

Attention: Employers Doing Business in the City of Minneapolis—Proposed Ordinances Impose Potentially Burdensome Scheduling, Pay, and Earned Sick Time Requirements

October 8, 2015

Please note: If you have employees working in Minneapolis, we urge you to read this alert regarding the "Minneapolis Working Families Agenda" and hope you will take decisive action if you oppose the proposed rules described below. The supporters of these ideas becoming the law in Minneapolis are working hard to garner support, and it is our understanding they currently have the support of the Mayor and a substantial majority of the City Council. Please also be sure to read our update below.

Minneapolis Working Families Agenda

We expect the Minneapolis City Council to soon consider a series of proposals that will include the following concepts:

Fair Scheduling (applicable to all employees unless covered by an agreement with a union or other labor organization that waives the law in clear and unambiguous terms)

  • Employers must post all employees' schedules, including on-call shifts, 28 days in advance.
  • Employers must contact employees to notify them of changes within 24 hours of changing their schedules.
  • Employers must pay one hour of "predictability pay" if the employer changes the schedule after posting it.
  • Employers must pay the lesser of four hours of "predictability pay" or the duration of the shift if the employer cancels or shortens the shift with less than 24 hours' notice.
  • Employees may decline hours that are not in the original posted schedule without retaliation.
  • Employees must provide written consent to add shifts or hours.
  • Employees must consent to work with less than 11 hours between shifts (so-called "clopenings"), more than 55 hours in a week, or more than six days in a row. Even if employees consent, the employer must pay time-and-one-half if the employee agrees to work those hours. Employers must pay overtime for shifts exceeding eight hours.
  • Employers must provide new employees with a schedule for their first 28 days of employment.
  • Employers must pay a retention premium to discourage posting a schedule with zero hours.
  • Employers must offer hours to existing employees before hiring new or temporary employees, with a transparent process for distributing extra hours.
  • Employees have the right to request a flexible working arrangement. The employer must promptly evaluate and respond to the request and is required to grant the request if it is based on an employee's serious health condition, caregiving obligations, educational pursuits, or second job.

Paid Sick Time (applicable to any business with one or more employees unless covered by a collective bargaining agreement with a union or other labor organization that waives the law in clear and unambiguous terms)

  • Subject to numerous provisions and certain exceptions, employees accrue one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked.

No Retaliation

  • Like other employment and labor laws, these would be job-protected rights with strong provisions prohibiting employer retaliation.

Update to the Minneapolis Working Families Agenda Draft Proposals

Since the Minneapolis Working Families Agenda has been released, vigorous debate has ensued regarding the workability of these proposals for businesses. Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, and other business groups have organized to attempt to explain to Council Members that these proposals, even if well-meaning, are impractical and, in some cases, impossible to honor without substantial cost and disruption. Many businesses cannot predict their staffing needs so far in advance. Some of the rules will also be problematic for many employees who enjoy the benefit of working for an employer that offers flexible scheduling, shift swaps, the opportunity to pick up extra hours on short notice, and other features of a fluid staffing process.

As a result of such feedback, on October 6, 2015, Mayor Hodges stated there is a growing consensus around changes to the draft proposals and she will work with the City Council to incorporate such feedback. Specifically, there is a growing consensus around changes to the following issues:

  • Decreasing the length of time from 28 days to 14 days for providing advance notice of work schedules.
  • Ensuring adequate rest for employees by establishing minimum scheduling standards between overnight "clopening" shifts and providing one 7th day of rest each week.
  • Preserving the status quo for scheduling practices that include "4-10s" (working four days for 10 hours per day) and split shifts.
  • Adding a phased implementation for smaller businesses so they have additional time to establish new systems and practices.
  • Seeking support from the city or other partners to implement the policies, especially assistance with technology or methods of predicting schedules.

What You Can Do

We believe that only San Francisco has adopted ordinances similar to the Minneapolis Working Families Agenda. However, the scope and breadth of the Minneapolis proposals go beyond what San Francisco requires. If these proposals concern you, it is essential that you take action quickly and express your concerns as soon as possible. The City Council and Mayor Hodges have expressed they are committed to continuing the conversation and welcome feedback. The draft ordinances will incorporate changes based on feedback received by October 16, 2015.

We think that every employer will have unique and compelling concerns that the City Council must hear so that the Council's vote will be fully informed on the impact and consequences of the Working Families Agenda. We urge you to do the following:

  1. Contact your trade association and Chamber of Commerce right away and find out what you can do to help their efforts. Tell them specifically how the ordinances would adversely impact your business if they become law, so that they can carry your message to City leaders.
  2. Contact the Council Member who represents the ward where you are in business and explain respectfully but firmly just how these ordinances will adversely impact your business—and perhaps even your employees whose interests do not always rest on having a predictable, inflexible schedule. Find your ward and Council Member.

We Can Help

Please contact a member of Maslon's Labor & Employment Group if you have any questions regarding the proposed rules and how they may impact your company.


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