First, on the issue of employers exempted from an ordinance, the task force unanimously approved a statement requesting that any ordinance exempt all employers who would otherwise be covered by an alternative law (like those employees and employers governed by the Railway Labor Act, or, for example, student workers covered by the Federal Work Study program) and that independent contractors, used by many employers, be also exempted. As simple as this sounds, this was progress as it conforms to existing law and does not create new challenges for employers who are already conforming to the law.
Many more questions on exemptions remain. The group tabled for further discussion proposed exemptions for employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, employees who are termed “casual workers” (a category used by the healthcare sector) and exemptions based on the size of the business. Minneapolis, in their proposed ordinance, exempted companies with three or less employees. In addition, exemptions for “family” businesses were also put aside for further discussion.
Second, the group reached consensus that employees would accrue sick time at a rate consistent with that proposed by Minneapolis and other civic entities around the country. While the exact number was not agreed upon, the consensus was that sick time would accrue at the approximate range of 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked in the City of Saint Paul.
Much work remains to be done. Staff from the city, in concert with the co-chairs, will be preparing material to further the debate on exemptions (both employees and employers) as the discussion continues. The task force next meets on Tuesday, April 12.