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Sick and Safe Time Through Pandemic

March 17, 2020 9:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The City of Minneapolis has issued its interpretation of the Sick and Safe Time Ordinance with regard to the current pandemic:

The Sick and Safe Time ordinance requires the provision of sick leave to workers in the city of Minneapolis. Please be aware that the City of Minneapolis Labor Standards Enforcement Division has posted guidance on its Sick and Safe Time website (and below in bold) to explain how the Sick and Safe Time ordinance is interpreted by the Division during the current pandemic.

State of Minnesota DEED website also guides businesses and workers during this difficult time, as additional state resources and emergency federal legislation are being rolled out.


**COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) and sick and safe time**

An employee's accrued sick and safe time hours are legally protected for their use due to Coronavirus symptoms, testing or infection. Protection extends to the employee and the employee's care of a covered family member. Ordinance protection includes, but is not limited to:

  • Coronavirus screening;
  • Care or quarantine due to Coronavirus symptoms or infection;  
  • Testing or quarantine following close personal contact with a Coronavirus infected or symptomatic person;
  • Covered family members' school or place-of-care closure due to Coronavirus; and
  • Workplace closure by order of a public official due to Coronavirus.


Importantly, many schools and places-of-care have now been closed due to Coronavirus, which triggers ordinance protection for the use of accrued sick and safe time hours in the city for workers who need to care for their children because of those closures. Similarly, when any public official (e.g. Mayor or Governor) orders business closures due to Coronavirus, that order triggers coverage of the ordinance for workers at those businesses. Otherwise, generally, preemptive closure or preemptive self-quarantine is not covered by the Sick and Safe Time ordinance.

If a worker is infected or symptomatic, they may use any accrued sick and safe time hours. Furthermore, ordinance protection is triggered if a worker has reason to believe they are probably infected. Under those circumstances, as noted in the third bullet (above), self-quarantine ("preventive care" during a global pandemic) would constitute a protected use of accrued sick and safe time.

The Sick and Safe Time ordinance does not apply once a workers' accrued hours have been exhausted. However, employers and employees are encouraged to be understanding and flexible with each other where possible during this emergency. Nothing in the ordinance prevents an employer from providing workers more generous coverage or benefits. The Federal Medical Leave Act or other state or federal law may also apply.

Email sicktimeinfo@minneapolismn.gov for further clarification of this guidance. Thank you and stay safe.

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Southwest Business Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Minnesota , P.O. Box 8932, Minneapolis, MN 55408

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