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Bloomington Briefing

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Mayor’s memo: City Council discussing sick and safe leave

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Bloomington Briefing Published February 28, 2022
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Updated on February 28, 2022
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By Mayor Tim Busse

The City Council is considering an earned sick and safe leave ordinance for workers at Bloomington businesses. An earned sick and safe leave ordinance would require employers operating in Bloomington to provide some amount of paid sick and safe leave to employees. There’s currently no such requirement in Minnesota state law. Three of Minnesota’s largest cities—Duluth, Saint Paul and Minneapolis—have already adopted similar ordinances.

For the past few years, a number of councilmembers have shared their concern about the inequities experienced by workers who do not have a right to take time off from their jobs when their personal or family circumstances require it. Going through a pandemic only heightened that concern as we’ve seen disparities in how the virus has affected people working in service industries that don’t often have the benefit of paid time off. We know when leave isn’t available workers are more likely to go to work when they or their family members are sick, which is a burden to them and a risk to everyone.

The Bloomington City Council appointed a task force in June 2021 to develop an ordinance requiring the provision of paid earned sick and safe leave to individuals working in Bloomington. Task force members include Bloomington business owners and managers, the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, nonprofits, organized labor and engaged residents. They gathered information, received input from stakeholders and reviewed existing ordinances in other Minnesota cities. The City’s Community Outreach and Engagement staff also performed surveys of Bloomington employers, employees and the public.

The task force drafted a proposed ordinance that protects the well-being of Bloomington’s workforce and residents. It balances 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 18 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.

The recommended ordinance supports the City Council’s strategic priority of equity and inclusion. It is intended to promote and protect the well-being of the Bloomington workforce and residents; support the City Council’s strategic priority of equity and inclusion; and balance the unique needs and circumstances of employers with a recognition that Bloomington is part of a regional labor and service market.

The City Council discussed this proposed ordinance in January and February. That discussion will continue in March. Visit blm.mn/essl for more information.