- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Thousands of people who work in Minneapolis will gain eligibility for paid sick time starting next summer under an ordinance approved Friday.

The City Council voted unanimously to require most employers with six or more workers to provide paid time off. Employees can earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. They can accrue up to 48 hours per year, but can’t carry more than 80 hours into the next year. Businesses with fewer than six employees will need to provide the same amount of unpaid sick time.

“Today, Minneapolis has recognized that no one should have to choose between being healthy and being paid,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement. “This is a landmark day for Minneapolis.”

Some 42 percent of people who work in Minneapolis don’t currently earn sick leave, according to the mayor’s statement, which also said shows that lack of access to sick time disproportionately affects women and people of color.

Twenty-three other U.S. cities have passed paid sick-leave mandates, along with five states. St. Paul officials are considering a policy, and advocates are lobbying the city of Duluth on the issue. State Rep. John Lesch, D-St. Paul, promised a fresh push at the Legislature next year to make the change statewide, saying the GOP majority in the House blocked his bill from getting a hearing this year.

Business groups warned that the rule could boost expenses and paperwork, and cause some companies to close.

“Despite their good intentions, our elected officials do not know better than the thousands of businesses which have developed policies and practices that work well for them and the people they employ,” the heads of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

The rule takes effect July 1, 2017.

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