MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Workers in Minneapolis could soon have more flexible schedules and more paid leave. One of the councilmembers behind a proposed ordinance says if it goes through, big changes could start early next year.

The proposal would allow workers to know their schedules ahead of time and earn overtime if they work more than eight hours a day. It would affect all Minneapolis businesses with more than one employee.

The Minneapolis restaurant scene is one of flavor, variety and growth. It’s just a slice of the local business scene but one councilmember said that scenery needs some change.

“We’re hearing about gaps in the workplace that are disproportionately affecting low-wage workers, women and people of color,” councilmember Elizabeth Gladden said.

So she and a list of other city workers have drafted a plan. It would mean workers get their schedule a month out, they get paid sick leave and any shift over eight hours would mean overtime.

Christina Cortez has worked at McDonald’s for nine years. She said knowing her schedule 28 days out would be huge.

“Then I wouldn’t have to worry, Am I going to schedule my appointment or my baby’s appointment on the day I’m actually supposed to be at work?” she said.

A partner at Hell’s Kitchen said his employees don’t seem to need a month’s notice.

“[We’ve talked] to our servers about, What do you want?” Pat Forciea said. “Everybody kind of agreed on two weeks.”

Joe Elliot, father to 4-year-old Jamir said the sick leave is what excites him. He said he didn’t get any when he broke his hand,

“I had to debate [whether] to stay home and relax, like the doctor said, or lose my job,” Elliot said.

But change comes at a cost.

“Maybe businesses feel it’s just too expensive to do business in Minneapolis, so I’m instead going to open up my restaurant in Edina or I’m going to open it up in Bloomington,” he said.

But he said if it all passes, he’ll see it through.

“We want to do what’s right for the people who work here and their families,” he said.

A March report from the Department of Health found that the lack of paid sick leave in Minnesota workplaces has contributed to contagious disease outbreaks and actually added to employers’ health care expenses.

WCCO also spoke with a labor attorney. He said the paid sick leave and overtime seem like reasonable changes, but scheduling 28 days out is a bit extreme. He said 14 days out would be more practical.

The council hopes to vote on an ordinance by the end of the year.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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