Should the fundamental rules of Minnesota Employment Law be uniform throughout the State? That is the question at the heart of certain bi-partisan proposed legislation that would require uniformity in state labor regulations regarding minimum wages, benefits, leaves or other work conditions by pre-empting local mandates. For example, the Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis are considering ordinances requiring sick and safe time for employers operating within their municipal boundaries. For a very good ongoing summary of the St. Paul/Minneapolis ordinances – in task force stage – please see the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce blog.

If passed, these ordinances will create a local mandate with a significant effect on employer obligations for certain Minnesota employers, those within Minneapolis and St. Paul, and not for other Minnesota employers, those operating outside of the Twin Cities. Unlike other state labor and employment laws, the applicability for the law is not based on the size or nature of the employer but whether the employer operates business within the municipal boundaries.

There are 21 other states that have laws supporting state-wide uniformity of labor regulations. The purpose of House File HF 1241/SF 565 is for Minnesota to become the 22nd State that would pre-empt local labor ordinances and require that Minnesota Labor Law be uniform. Advocates see the proposed “uniform” legislation as keeping a “consistent marketplace” in the fundamental aspects of employment law throughout the State. Opponents may view it as reducing the influence of local governments on local businesses and public welfare.

Takeaway: All Minnesota Employers should be tuned into this movement. The controversial “sick and safe time” ordinances being considered by the Minneapolis and Saint Paul City Councils will likely have an impact beyond their borders by triggering consideration of state-wide uniformity in labor regulations. Stay tuned to Minnesota Employer for further updates.