State appeals court won't block Minneapolis sick-time ordinance

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday refused to suspend a Minneapolis ordinance requiring employers to provide time off for employee illness or emergency, but did keep intact a temporary limit on how aspects of the policy are enforced on businesses based outside the city.

The ruling by a three-judge appeals panel upheld a lower court decision that let the ordinance go into effect in July. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce had sought an injunction to block the policy while it sues over the sick and safe time ordinance.

"We are satisfied that the district court properly exercised its discretion by determining that, overall, the balance with respect to preemption tips in favor of the city, and therefore declining to temporarily enjoin the ordinance in its entirety," Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks wrote for the unanimous panel.

But the appeals court also let stand a temporary injunction that bars the city from enforcing the ordinance for employers based outside of the city. The ordinance imposes recordkeeping requirements pertaining to employees who work more than 80 hours in a year.

The ordinance provides employees with one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked subject to accrual caps. A requirement for paid leave is imposed on businesses with six or more employees. For companies with fewer employees, the leave can be unpaid.

Leave time can be used for an employer's health and welfare needs or when dealing with a family member. It covers physical or mental health, domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and school and workplace closings.

The decision deals solely with injunctions while the chamber's legal case plays out.

Shortly after the ruling was announced Monday, the chamber said it will appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The business group was pleased the court "prevented Minneapolis from imposing its ordinance on businesses that don't even have any physical presence in the city" but disappointed it allowed the ordinance to stand, chamber president Doug Loon said in a statement.

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