The Task Force last night:
Clarified that the ordinance applies to those employees who work in the city of Saint Paul, not those who do not, and that the city attorney will have to provide clarifying language in the ordinance that will help employers determine how to apply this to employees who may only work in Saint Paul on an intermittent basis. This remains a complex issue with many permutations and we (and I’m sure others at the table) expect to debate this further when ordinance language is available for review.
Proposed that if a company has a PTO policy that meets the minimum standards of the city that such company is deemed to be in compliance. This was relatively non-controversial and very much in keeping with similar decisions around the country. The Task Force adopted this approach.
On Enforcement, the Task Force:
Requested that the City of Saint Paul provide extensive training materials to employers and employees on the new ordinance and that those materials be made available in a variety of formats, languages, and methods. The intent was to ensure that employers and employees were aware of the ordinance and knew how to comply. The Task Force also suggested that the city consider that other groups, and the Chamber was noted as an example, could be used by the city to help promote awareness of the ordinance. Both decisions were accepted without significant controversy.
Requested that the ordinance provide specific language requiring employers to notify employees of the ordinance. This might be through a variety of methods and the Task Force agreed to simply note that employers should use existing methods consistent with their existing processes to notify employees to achieve this objective. Again, this was non-controversial.
Requested the city appoint a city department, to be determined by the Mayor and City Council, to administer this ordinance (in education, compliance, and enforcement). This was adopted without controversy.
Requested that the city utilize appropriate processes to create an enforcement mechanism. It was noted that many ordinances include escalating enforcement mechanisms and that the city utilize their past experience and any new techniques to develop a similar model for this ordinance. This was adopted without controversy.
Finally, the Task Force debated the right of individuals (and employers) to initiate what is called a “Right of Personal Action.” This would allow an individual (or employer) to retain their own counsel instead of (or in parallel) with any city administered enforcement mechanism. Some jurisdictions allow this, others do not. On a split vote the Task Force requested that the ordinance include the Right of Personal Action for parties involved.
The Task force awaits the final report of all recommendations. This should be completed late next week (the week of May 16th). Members will be able to review the recommendations, propose alternative language to the chairs, and on the meeting of May 24th review the overall package with the Task Force. Amendments, if any, to the recommendations will be debated but by the end of the evening a vote will be taken on the overall package.
The city will then create a draft ordinance and we expect that there will be an opportunity for review and comment prior to any final ordinance being accepted for possible passage by the City Council. We remind all parties that significant opportunity still exists to engage with city officials and the Council to make sure your voice is heard.
Thank you to all Task Force members for participating and thank you to our many members who provided written comments for the public record.