Earlier this month, Bloomington–home of Mall of America and many retail workers–became the fourth city in Minnesota to enact a paid sick and safe time law that will ensure that workers are able to care for their health and that of their loved ones without sacrificing their economic security. The Bloomington City Council unanimously approved paid sick time legislation, joining the Minnesota cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Duluth in guaranteeing this critical right.
Starting in July 2023, workers in Bloomington in businesses with 5 or more employees can earn up to 48 hours of paid sick time per year, while those in smaller businesses can earn up to 48 hours of unpaid, job-protected sick time per year. In addition to guaranteeing workers the right to sick time for personal and family health needs, the law allows time off for domestic violence purposes, the death of a family member, certain public health emergencies, and care of a family member whose school or place of care is closed due to inclement weather, loss of power/heating/water, or other unexpected closures.
A Better Balance has been proud to provide legal support to our partners in Minnesota over the years, including Take Action Minnesota and SEIU. We’re thrilled that Bloomington joins the growing paid sick leave movement in Minnesota and around the country, and we look forward to continued efforts to guarantee paid sick time to all workers in Minnesota!
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, we are also excited to see continued movement on guaranteeing workers paid sick leave during a public health emergency. San Francisco—the first locality in the United States to enact a paid sick leave law—recently approved a ballot initiative that creates a permanent public health emergency leave policy. Effective October 1, 2022, this ballot initiative will require that employers with 100 or more employees worldwide provide employees with up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave per calendar year during a state or local public health emergency. ABB has provided support to paid leave advocates in San Francisco on both permanent sick leave and COVID-19 sick leave, and we congratulate them on this important win!
The San Francisco initiative was overwhelmingly approved, winning by nearly 30 percentage points (64.44% to 35.56%). This significant victory reflects deep support for paid sick leave, including the need to provide additional time off during public health emergencies like COVID-19. We are thrilled that San Francisco voters have learned from COVID-19 and are preparing for future needs during other public health emergencies. With this vote, many workers across the city will still have economic security when unable to work due to: public health orders; isolation or quarantine needs; seeking a medical diagnosis when symptomatic or being diagnosed with a possible infectious, contagious, or communicable disease associated with a public health emergency; caring for a family member for these purposes; or caring for a family member whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to a public health emergency. The public health emergency leave also covers situations where a member of a vulnerable population who primarily works outside is unable to work due to an air quality emergency. As we have seen throughout the pandemic, paid sick leave and public health emergency leave are lifeline protections for workers who are weathering the health and economic consequences of a public health emergency.
Both of these new laws will provide much-needed benefits to workers and their families. As we have learned throughout the pandemic, paid sick leave is a basic right that workers, communities, and the economy need to thrive. A Better Balance offers a hearty congratulations to advocates in Bloomington and San Francisco for their hard work and success on this important issue.