Berkeley, California, and St. Paul, Minnesota, wrap up the summer with 2 new paid sick leave laws. Berkeley’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, passed on August 31, goes into effect on October 1, 2017.  The City Council’s decision to pass the law may have been prompted by two competing ballot measures that will both appear on the November ballot. The enacted ordinance will become the applicable law unless the voters override that decision in November.

St. Paul passed its ordinance on September 7, making it the second Minnesota city, after Minneapolis, to pass a paid sick leave law. The ordinance takes effect July 1, 2017.

The laws contain the following provisions:


  • Covered Employers: All employers employing or exercising control over an eligible employee’s wages, hours, or working conditions, or that receive or hold a Berkeley business license.
  • Eligible Employees: Employees who work at least 2 hours for an employer within Berkeley. Employees may use paid sick leave 90 calendar days after beginning employment.
  • Accrual: 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, in whole-hour increments (no fractional accrual).
  • Maximum Use/Accrual: Small business employers (those with up to 25 employees) have a cap of 48 hours. All other employers – 72 hours.
  • Leave Reasons: Employee’s or family member’s illness, medical care, diagnosis, or treatment.
  • Covered Family Members: Child, parent, legal guardian or ward, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, designated person (if no spouse or domestic partner).
  • Employer Posting and Notice: Employer posting requirement; copy of notice required if no physical location. Employers must inform the employee of the amount of paid sick leave accrued at the end of each pay period.

St. Paul

  • Covered Employers: All employers, except for federal, state, or county/local government (other than the City of St. Paul).
  • Eligible Employees: All employees who work for an employer, and perform work within the geographic boundaries of St. Paul for at least 80 hours per year for that employer. Employees may begin using paid sick leave 90 calendar days after their hire date.
  • Accrual: 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, in whole-hour increments (no fractional accrual).
  • Maximum Use/Accrual: 80 hours. Employers may frontload time instead of using accrual method.
  • Leave Reasons: Employee’s or family member’s illness, injury, or health condition; certain absences due to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking; closure of place of business, school, or place of care as a result of an infectious agent, toxin, hazardous material, or other public health emergency; school or place of care closure due to inclement weather, loss of power, heating, or water, or other unexpected closure.
  • Covered Family Members: Child (including step, adopted, foster, or adult), spouse, sibling, parent (including step and in-law), grandchild, grandparent, domestic partner, or any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • Employer Posting and Notice: Employer notice requirement which may be satisfied with a poster. Notice within handbook also required for employers with a handbook.

Paid sick leave continues to be a fertile area of legislative development, both at the city and the state level. The issue remains a hot topic in cities and counties across the country, including Duluth, MN, Cook County, IL, and Princeton, NJ.

Overwhelmed by the pace of new laws?  ReedGroup provides up-to-the-minute information through our online compliance tool, LeaveAdvisor. For more information, and access to a free trial, please click here.

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