Governor’s Veto Means Sick Leave Ordinances Are Official On July 1

Governor Mark Dayton has wielded his veto pen so Minneapolis and St. Paul employers must get ready for new sick leave legislation that takes effect on July 1.

As we previously reported, the Minnesota Legislature proposed a legislation that would have prohibited any attempt by local governments to adopt and enforce laws and policies related to private-sector employment relationships, including mandating a higher minimum wage and sick leave.

The original bill (HF 600) failed to pass both houses before the end of the session on May 22. After a special session was called, a new bill (SF 3) was passed that included the preemption language from original bill.  The new bill also included several provisions designed entice Governor Dayton to sign the bill.

The Veto is Official

However, the Governor followed through on his promise to veto the bill. His press release stated:

The role of state government is to set minimum standards for workplace protections, wages, and benefits, not maximums. Should local officials, who were elected by their constituents in their communities, approve higher wage and benefit levels to meet the needs of their residents, they ought to retain the right to do so.

Unless the legislature overrides the veto (an almost impossible scenario in light of the narrow voting margins approving the legislation), the sick leave ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul will go into effect on July 1, 2017.  This is because the appeal that was filed by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce will not be heard by the Minnesota Court of Appeals until July 11th, and a decision likely will not be issued for 90 days thereafter.

Bottom Line

Employers with operations in Minneapolis or St. Paul should start preparing for the new sick leave ordinances now. This may include updating current policies, promulgating new policies for previously-ineligible employees, updating handbooks, and obtaining the necessary posters.

We will continue to provide employers with guidance on preparing for the sick leave ordinances.