Minneapolis Paid Sick Leave Faces Legal Fight on Extraterritorial Application

On May 9, 2018, the Hennepin County District Court issued an order largely upholding Minneapolis’s Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which provides for sick and safe leave. However, Minneapolis cannot enforce the ordinance against non-resident employers (i.e. employers that do not have a physical presence within Minneapolis city limits). The order makes permanent a preliminary injunction against extraterritorial enforcement of the ordinance.

It is likely that Minneapolis will appeal the decision. “The city council could also seek to amend the original ordinance to attempt to narrow the scope of its extraterritorial application only to those non-resident employers whose employees spend a substantial time working in Minneapolis,” says Veena Iyer, an employment attorney at Nilan Johnson Lewis who submitted an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the Minnesota Management Attorneys Association.

Other cities take different approaches to applying sick leave laws to non-resident employers and employees. “Seattle, for example, has applied its sick leave law to employees who are typically based outside of the city but work 240 hours within the city,” says Courtney Blanchard, another employment attorney at Nilan Johnson Lewis who advises multi-state clients on local wage and hour issues. Seattle is currently reconsidering the 240-hour threshold, signaling that the extraterritorial issue is not unique to Minneapolis.

Iyer and Blanchard counsel that employers with a presence in Minnesota should not change any policies related to paid sick leave at this time as the order affirms a preliminary injunction that has been in place since January 2017. However, they should pay close attention to changes that may come from city hall or an appeal. To speak with Veena Iyer or Courtney Blanchard regarding the employer impact of the sick and safe leave law, contact Veena at viyer@nilanjohnson.com or 612.305.7695 or Courtney at cblanchard@nilanjohnson.com or 612.305.7732.

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