The City of St. Paul has adopted amendments to its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance to align with the State’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law. The amendments take effect January 1, 2024. For a summary of St. Paul’s ESST, see prior Benefit Beat article here.
The amendments expand the definition of family member to include an employee’s relative, the relative of his/her spouse or registered domestic partner, any other individual with a close relation with the employee, and up to one individual annually designated by the employee.
Reasons for leave
Under the ordinance, an employee can use accrued sick time after 90 calendar days of employment. The amendments remove the 90-day requirement.
The amendments expand the reasons for leave by permitting remote and in-person workers to take leave when determined by a healthcare professional or authority that an employee or his/her family member is at risk of infecting others with a communicable disease. An employee may also use ESST to make his/her existing home safer due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
Accrual and frontloading
An employee accrues one hour of sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked up to 48 hours in a calendar year. An employee may carry over up to 80 hours unused sick and safe time to the following year.
In lieu of permitting carryover of accrued unused sick and safe time, the amendments outline two methods for frontloading leave hours. An employer can (1) provide 48 hours of ESST at the beginning of the subsequent year if it pays employees for accrued unused sick and safe time at the end of a year, or (2) provide 80 hours of ESST at the beginning of the subsequent year if it does not pay employees for accrued unused sick and safe time at the end of a year.
An employer who chooses to frontload sick and safe time (rather than permit carryover of unused time) must apply the same method of frontloading to all employees.
An employee returning from leave is entitled to be returned to the same or an equivalent position. An employer must also maintain health coverage for the employee and any dependents during leave. The employee must continue to pay his/her share of the cost of coverage while on leave.
Employee notice and reasonable documentation
The amendments provide that an employer may require advance notice of 7 days of the need to use ESST. If the need is unforeseeable, an employee must give notice as soon as practicable.
An employer may require reasonable documentation for absences of more than three consecutive days. Reasonable documentation includes a written statement by the employee in the employee’s first language.
Employer notice and posting requirement
Employers must provide notice of the Ordinance to all employees. The notice must be provided in English and the primary language of the employee, as identified by the employee. The notice must be provided to all employees at the start of their employment or by January 1, 2024.
Employers can satisfy their notice requirements by providing employees notice of the required information by:
- Posting a copy of the notice at each location where employees perform work,
- Providing a paper or electronic copy of the notice directly to the employees, or
- A conspicuous posting in a web- or app-based platform through which employees perform work.
Employers must also provide employees with an earnings statement at the end of each pay period showing the ESST amounts accrued, used, and available during the pay period.
The information contained in this Benefit Beat is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations. This information is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This information is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. You must consult your own attorney or tax advisor for assistance in specific situations. This information is provided as-is, with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.