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Council considering earned sick and safe leave ordinance

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Bloomington Briefing Published May 3, 2022
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Updated on May 9, 2022
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The City Council reviewed an updated draft of the proposed earned sick and safe leave ordinance for workers at Bloomington businesses in April. An earned sick and safe leave ordinance would require employers to provide some amount of sick and safe leave to employees that work at least 80 hours per year in Bloomington. Three of Minnesota’s largest cities—Duluth, Saint Paul and Minneapolis—have already adopted similar ordinances.

“For the past few years, some councilmembers have shared their concerns about the inequities experienced by workers without the right to take time off from their jobs when their personal or family circumstances require it,” Mayor Tim Busse said.

The City Council appointed a task force in June 2021 to develop an ordinance requiring the provision of earned sick and safe leave to individuals working in Bloomington. Task force members included Bloomington business owners and managers, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits, organized labor and engaged residents.

“The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure that individuals in Bloomington can address their own and their families’ health needs,” Deputy City Attorney Peter Zuniga said. “We found that access to sick and safe leave and the ability to take sick and safe leave is not equally available across populations of different incomes or race and ethnicity.”

The task force drafted a proposed ordinance that protects the well-being of Bloomington’s workforce and residents. It takes into account the unique needs and circumstances of Bloomington employers while recognizing that the city is part of a regional service and labor market. The proposed ordinance would allow employees to accrue a minimum of one hour of sick and safe leave for every 30 hours worked up to a maximum of 48 hours in a calendar year. In businesses with six or more employees it would be paid time off. In businesses with five or less employees it would be unpaid time off.

“For the most part, the Bloomington ordinance is consistent with the Minneapolis ordinance given the geographic proximity and the similarities in labor force,” Zuniga said. “One area where we differ is how we treat seasonal employees. The City Council wanted to ensure seasonal employees received the protection of the ordinance as well.”

The City Council discussed this proposed ordinance in January, February and April. Visit blm.mn/essl for more information.