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Bill on cities' labor mandates passes Minnesota House committee

While the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are set to have new paid sick leave mandates in 2017, there are those in opposition to the mandates. A House bill that would keep cities from being able to institute city-wide benefit and wage mandates that are greater than those provided by state law was the subject of a hearing before the house job growth committee recently. The bill would block local governments from promulgating regulations with regards to minimum benefits, employee scheduling, mandatory paid leave and minimum wages. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 13 to 9. The vote was split along political party lines; the majority members of this particular committee are Republicans.

This recent hearing took four hours. According to reports, advocates of the bill stressed that there should be uniformity statewide with regards to wages and benefits. The committee chair stated that it is neither realistic nor productive for all 854 cities in the state to have their own specific labor standards. Essentially, they fear a "patchwork" of standards that could be difficult to follow.

Opponents of the bill have stressed that local government should have the ability to control labor standards in their jurisdictions. In addition, those opposed to the bill stress that it would get rid of important worker safeguards that are not provided on the state level. For example, low-wage earners often have to make the difficult choice between paying for necessities such as food versus paying for health care costs.

It remains to be seen how this bill will progress. However, it is important for Minnesota employees to keep track of this, as it may affect their benefits in the future. Those who have questions about this bill or other employee rights issues may want to discuss the matter with an employment law attorney. This ensures that an employee understands their matters, their rights and what steps they can take to protect their interests.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Cities' sick leave, other employer mandates targeted by Minnesota GOP lawmakers," Frederick Melo, Feb. 2, 2017

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