Frequently Asked Questions about the Workplace Partnership Group
What is the charge of the Workplace Partnership Group?
The Workplace Partnership Group was established to study the impact of policy proposals related to workplace regulations on earned sick time and paid time off, including regional and cross-jurisdictional implications of such policy proposals. This group is to engage the community in the development of its recommended policy proposals through focus groups, listening sessions, and similar practices and may consult subject-matter experts in the course of its study. It is to report its final policy proposals on earned sick time and paid time off to the Minneapolis City Council Committee of the Whole no later than February 24, 2016.
Who are the members of the Workplace Partnership Group and how were they selected?
Three (3) members were chosen by the mayor, two (2) members were chosen by the City Council president, and the remaining ten (10) full members and four (4) alternate members were chosen by the City Council as a whole. A list of members can be found on the City website: www.minneapolismn.gov/workplacepartnershipgroup/.
How will the Workplace Partnership Group solicit input?
The Workplace Partnership Group is hosting multiple listening sessions in January 2016 to engage employers and employees in discussion about a potential city policy. Some sessions are organized by industry, geography, or other common elements. The panel will facilitate conversation among employers and employees, and take public comment from others as much as time allows. The group will also host two public forums, not focused on particular employer/employee groupings. Additionally:
- The public can email comments
- Attendees at every listening session can fill out comment cards
- City Council members will have comment cards available at other meetings
Why is it important to consider earned sick time?
Currently, people working in Minneapolis may not have earned sick time, which causes difficulty for employees and employers trying to plan for work time. As a result, workers may go to work sick, cause others to become ill, or miss work, causing other disruptions. Lack of predictable earned sick time can force people to make a difficult choice between getting a paycheck or caring for themselves or a loved one during illness.
Lack of earned sick time is a serious public health issue. When employees come to work sick, it can impact customers and other employees. Since 2004, more than 208 food-borne illness outbreaks have been linked to employees working while sick in Minnesota. Forty-one percent (41%) of employed Minneapolis residents lack access to earned sick time.
How is the Workplace Partnership Group expecting to define “businesses” and “employees?”
At this stage, the group is focusing its attention on employees in the City of Minneapolis. To that end, “businesses” may be entities located in the City of Minneapolis with “employees” on payroll or under contract performing work in the City of Minneapolis. This position may change as the group obtains feedback from the community on the pertinent policy proposals.
What does “paid” and “earned” mean?
The Workplace Partnership Group is exploring options for policies that would ensure employees have paid time off for illness – actually receiving pay while off from work (in addition to simply being allowed time off). Typically, these paid days would be earned based on hours/weeks worked and are therefore proportional to the amount of time worked. The group may recommend a maximum number of paid days off that can be accrued in a period of time.
Will independent contractors and sole proprietors be covered by the policy?
At this stage, the Workplace Partnership Group expects to include in its recommendations workers in Minneapolis engaged as employees, which may include contractors and sole proprietors. The scope of coverage may narrow if implementation details or the feedback obtained from the community suggest that broad coverage may not be plausible or practical.
Will the Workplace Partnership Group make recommendations about other employee benefits?
The Workplace Partnership Group’s sole charge is to focus on paid/earned sick time.
Will I be able to use time off to care for a child, parent, or other family member?
The group may make recommendations about who may be supported by an employees’ use of paid time off. However, decisions about how time can be used will be determined by the Minneapolis City Council in its actual policymaking.
Will I be required to provide a doctor’s note to my employer for time off?
The group may make recommendations about how paid time off may be used. However, decisions about how time can be used, and how employers must account for it, will be determined by the Minneapolis City Council in its actual policymaking.
Can the City of Minneapolis adopt policy similar to other cities around the country?
Policies in other jurisdictions are being studied as a guide. However, the mix of industries, employers and workers in Minneapolis, relative to the surrounding region, is unique. A policy for Minneapolis must consider the specific needs of employers and workers in our area, with awareness of how such a policy could impact the regional economy.
Will there be other opportunities for public comment?
The Workplace Partnership Group is making recommendations to the Minneapolis City Council. The group is not drafting an ordinance. The expectation is that the City Council will receive these recommendations and use them to inform work in drafting an ordinance to advance such policy recommendations. As such, the City Council will follow all the usual steps towards approving such an ordinance including its introduction and ensuring there is ample opportunity for public comment.
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Last updated May 27, 2016