St. Paul passes mandatory paid sick time ordinance

St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman
Curtis Gilbert | MPR News 2015 file

The St. Paul City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday requiring employers to provide paid sick time for workers in the city.

The measure, set to take effect next summer, will allow workers without paid sick leave to earn an hour for every 30 hours they worked, up to a maximum of 80 hours.

Workers could use the time for illness, to care for family members, or if inclement weather closes schools or day care.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said he hopes the passage will give the idea statewide momentum.

"We saw that with other instances, where the cities led and then the state followed," Coleman said. "We saw that with the smoking ordinance — the importance of uniformity. So you didn't have one set of rules on one side of Larpenteur and different set of rules on the other."

Minneapolis passed a similar measure earlier this year, but that city's ordinance provides exemptions for very small employers — St. Paul's doesn't.

St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Kramer said employers will have to adjust to the different ordinances in Minneapolis and St. Paul, adding that he thinks not everyone will benefit.

"It's going to increase your costs, and those costs are going to be passed on to consumers," Kramer said, also suggesting that it could trim schedules for some workers.

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