On August 8, the Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide new notices to employees effective January 1, 2020. The ordinance will apply not only to employers with brick and mortar locations within the City’s limits, but also employers outside the City with employees who work at least 80 hours each year inside its limits.
Many of you are already familiar with the State of Minnesota’s so-called wage theft law, which took effect July 1, 2019, and imposed new employee notification requirements upon Minnesota’s employers. That new law was the subject of a recent article which I posted in Larkin Hoffman’s Employment Law Blog in June of 2019 and is attached here. The new Minneapolis ordinance essentially piggybacks on the State wage theft statute’s notification requirements, and mandates that additional information be provided. The State wage theft statute mandates that employers provide certain information in writing to new employees at the time of hiring, in addition to written notifications when changes are made.
What is Different in the Minneapolis Ordinance?
Under the new Minneapolis ordinance, employers are required to provide a written notice at the time of hiring, and prior to the commencement of work, which includes the following information (which is new/additional from what is required under the State wage theft law):
- the date on which employment will start;
- the employer’s policy regarding tips, and states that tip sharing is voluntary under Minnesota law (if the employee will be in a position to receive tips);
- the employer’s overtime policy applicable to the employee’s position and the rate of pay that will apply to straight time and overtime; and
- details about the employee’s rights under the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance (our previous article regarding the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance is attached here).
The notice regarding the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance must provide how sick and safe leave is accrued at the employer, the first date when the employee will be entitled to use any accrued time under the ordinance, and the beginning and end dates of the employer’s year for purposes of sick and safe time accrual.
Unlike the State’s wage theft notice requirement, the Minneapolis ordinance explicitly allows the notice to simply reference the employer’s handbook or other policies, which contain the required information, as opposed to repeating that information, in full, in the notice. But like the Minnesota wage theft notice, the Minneapolis ordinance requires employees to sign the pre-hire notice in order to acknowledge its receipt (although electronic signatures are acceptable). After the hiring, any changes to the information contained in that pre-hire notice will require an additional written notice to the employee prior to the date the changes take effect (which does not need to be signed).
The Minneapolis ordinance also requires that any employee who is employed prior to January 1, 2020 be provided the equivalent of the full, pre-hire notice. The State wage theft law, to the contrary, allows employers to wait to provide the information required in the pre-hire notice to employees who were employed prior to its July 1, 2019 effective date until their terms of employment change. The Minneapolis ordinance requires that the notice be provided to all existing employees, who were hired prior to January 1, 2020, no later than the end of the first full payroll period in 2020 (i.e. employers are not allowed to wait until a change is made in their terms of employment to provide the information required in the pre-hire notice).
The new Minneapolis ordinance also requires that earning statements be provided to employees every payroll period which include the amount of accrued sick and safe time available to the employee.
Should Employers Start Working to Comply with the Minneapolis Ordinance Now?
We recommend that employers hold off on preparations to comply with the Minneapolis ordinance until closer to January 1. A case is currently pending before the Minnesota Supreme Court which could affect the applicability of the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance to employers physically located outside the City. In addition, the City may issue guidance on the new ordinance in the future which could be of assistance.
The Minneapolis ordinance provides an array of penalties that may be imposed on employers who fail to comply. Civil fines up to $2,000, liquidated damages and other remedies are available.
Please contact one of our employment lawyers at Larkin Hoffman for any questions or assistance in complying with the new Minneapolis ordinance.