The meeting last night was the first meeting to concentrate on starting to define what a potential ordinance would cover. Last night the focus was on two things. First, the question of when is an employee covered by a sick and safe was examined in detail. The general consensus (not without controversy) was that it was easiest from an accounting/payroll perspective to essentially say an employee starts to accrue sick time when they have worked one hour. This was opposed to other municipalities that have selected everything from 80 hours to, in one case, 240 hours. The rationale was that by saying one hour you were essentially saying that when you hire an employee, they start to accrue as opposed to having to track employees for a period of time (say 80 hours as an example) at which point you would change your HR/payroll system to now start the accrual process.
Of note, we did point out that cities that have set a very low bar for coverage, as a one hour threshold would, also have more exemptions provided for businesses that would not have to comply with the ordinance. For example, a sports team, coming into town to play against the St. Paul Saints, might be exempted because while they clearly will meet the one hour threshold, they also are only here on an intermittent basis for a portion of the year.
That led to the second discussion, which was all about who would be covered. Rather than say we made progress, it would be more accurate to say that it was a spirited debate and there were many diverse opinions. That subject will be addressed at the fourth meeting of the task force next Tuesday night.
All task force meetings are open to the public, although there is no public comment period. Remember that there was ample opportunity for public comment at listening sessions in February and though an online survey. And of course, you can always contact your City Council Member with your input (which we strongly encourage!).
The Chamber has signed on to proposed legislation at the State level that would explicitly state that sick and safe time regulations are a state issue and that cities cannot create their own solutions. Click here for more information. If you agree that a state solution is needed, that would provide one consistent standard across the entire state, be sure to tell your legislator that. Click here to look up your legislator and be sure to call them or send them an e-mail.