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Paid Sick Leave in the Courts: News from Minnesota & Texas

The last few weeks have brought mixed news about court challenges to paid sick leave laws in Minnesota and Texas. To start with the good news: the Supreme Court of Minnesota handed down a decision on June 10, 2020 upholding Minneapolis’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was first enacted in 2017. The Court first held that the ordinance did not conflict with state law and affirmed the ability of localities in Minnesota to pass paid sick time laws.

Victory: Minnesota Supreme Court Upholds Minneapolis Paid Sick Time Law

Today marks a historic victory for workers and local democracy in the Twin Cities: Minnesota’s Supreme Court —the highest court in the state—affirmed the city’s authority to give workers the opportunity to earn paid sick time. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, it is more important than ever that workers are able to take time off to care for their health and that of their loved ones without losing wages, which is exactly what the paid sick time law allows for.

Paid Sick Time Goes Into Effect in Pittsburgh After Years-Long Legal Battle 

In the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the law’s implementation could not be more timely or critical. In addition to preventive care and personal/family illness or medical needs, Pittsburgh's paid sick leave law, like several others, allows workers to use sick time if: their workplace is closed by a public health official (due to a public health emergency); they need to care for their child if the child's school or care provider is closed for the same reason.

Court Upholds NYC’s Fair Workweek Law, Protecting Workers from Abusive Scheduling Practices

In a victory for millions of workers and families, a New York State Court recently upheld New York City’s Fair Workweek law—a law ensuring low wage workers are protected from abusive, unpredictable scheduling practices that make it difficult to work and care for a family, in part by requiring employers to give their workers sufficient notice of their schedules. 

In Arizona, A Victory in the Courts for Paid Sick Time and Local Democracy

After drawn out litigation, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled earlier this year that the State’s attempts to pass legislation that prohibits cities from passing laws regarding benefits—including paid leave—violates Arizona’s paid sick and safe days ballot initiative and the Arizona Voter Protection Act. The Arizona Supreme Court has now settled the issue by refusing to interfere with the Court of Appeals decision. As a result, local governments in Arizona can pass paid leave and other benefits laws that build on all rights at the state level.

To Advance Labor Rights, We Must Defend Local Democracy in the Courts

Cities have long been at the frontlines in the fight to reform the modern workplace: local communities have led the way in adopting workplace solutions like paid sick time, living wage mandates, fair scheduling requirements, and LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. But in response, states are increasingly blocking, or “preempting,” local progress by stepping in and overturning progressive local laws or preventing cities from passing them in the first place.

Celebrating Progress for LGBTQ Rights At Equality Federation’s 2019 Conference

Advocates in Georgia passed four local nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ individuals, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law by referendum, and six more states have passed laws prohibiting the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. We were also excited to celebrate our role in passage of several new LGBTQ-inclusive paid leave laws and victories upholding local LGBTQ rights laws.
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