Duluth Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The Duluth (MN) City Council last night passed an Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, requiring employers to allow employees to accrue an hour of leave for every 50 hours worked. The ordinance is effective January, 2020. The Council’s action came nearly two years after it created a task force to study and make recommendations concerning a PSL law in Duluth.


A legal cloud hangs over the scope of the Duluth ordinance due to a state district court decision earlier this month rejecting a Minneapolis effort to require employers not located within the city limits to provide paid sick leave to their employees who work within the city.  The rejected provision would have required an employer not located within the city limits to allow an employee who works in Minneapolis at least 80 hours per year to accrue PSL time while working within the geographic boundaries of the city for use when the employee is scheduled to work within the geographic boundaries of the city.  The city has appealed the court’s decision.

The Duluth proposal requires employers located outside the city limits to allow its employees who work within Duluth “for more than 50 percent of the employee’s working time in a 12-month period” to accrue PSL time. Whether Duluth’s ordinance will be applicable to employers outside of its city limits will likely depend on the outcome of the litigation concerning the Minneapolis PSL ordinance.

For those following the relationship between jurisdictions enacting a paid sick leave law and their “blue” status, Duluth follows the established pattern. In the 2016 presidential election, just short of 60% of voters cast their ballots for Secretary Hillary R. Clinton.


Duluth Paid Sick Time Bill Has Unique Accrual Rate

In nearly all duluth-minnesota-170208_1920paid sick laws nationwide, employees accrue PSL time at the rate of one hour per either 30 or 40 hours worked. A couple peg the accrual rate at one hour for every 35 hours worked.

Now comes Duluth, Minnesota, where the City Council is debating a proposed Earned Safe and Sick Time ordinance. The Council approved an amendment earlier this week which allows employees to accrue PSL time at the rate at one hour for every 50 hours worked. If the proposal is ultimately enacted, Duluth’s accrual rate will be its unique contribution to the vast and complex PSL patchwork.


Paid Sick Leave Consideration in Three Cities Likely Pushed to 2018

In September, I noted the possibility that Austin, TX or Portland, Maine might pass a paid sick leave law this year. It now appears that any action in either city will be a 2018 story. Both are collecting views from the citizenry on such an ordinance

Austin has held two “input sessions” this month and a third scheduled for November 30. The city staff will then submit a recommendation to the City Council for its consideration.

The Portland City Council referred the Earned Paid Sick Time for Workers bill to the Health and Human Services Committee. That Committee reviewed the bill initially at its November 14 meeting. The Committee’s agenda noted that it anticipates holding a public hearing on the bill early next year.

I also noted recently that the Duluth Sick and Safe Time Task Force submitted its recommendation to the Duluth City Council on November 20. The Council is scheduled to have an “open discussion” on that topic on November 30. To move from an “open discussion” to an enacted ordinance by the end of the year would be quite speedy and I anticipate Duluth will be a 2018 story as well.

With decisions on these local ordinances pushed to next year, it is likely Rhode Island will be the one and only PSL law enacted in 2017. This is the fewest number of PSL laws enacted nationwide in the past five calendar years.