By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city of Minneapolis is one step closer to implementing the most sweeping paid sick leave policy in the state.

The proposal, which advanced Wednesday out of a city council committee, would require employers to provide 48 hours a year paid sick leave to almost all employees working in the city.

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The only employers who would be exempt would be those with three or fewer employees. But not everyone is on board.

Supporters of paid sick leave spoke with reporters before Wednesday’s meeting. Chris Pennock did not have paid sick time when he worked as a carpet cleaner.

“If you had, you know, a temperature … if you had the flu, it didn’t matter what it was,” Pennock said. “They would take out $100 or more our of your paycheck every day you called in sick.”

The proposal would mandate that employees who did not use their sick leave would be able to bank or carry over up to 80 hours into the next calendar year.

It is a scaled down version of a proposal put forward by the mayor and some council members late last year.

That proposal drew intense criticism from businesses over restrictive scheduling guidelines. Business groups are also lining up against this proposal.

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Former City Council Member Steve Cramer is president of the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

“It makes it more costly, more complicated to do business in Minneapolis,” Cramer said. “It will certainly have an impact on small businesses.”

He says he will continue to lobby for changes, but judging by comments from a number of council members and Mayor Betsy Hodges, the sick leave proposal appears to have broad support.

“This is one of the most important policy considerations we will make together as a leadership team in our four years together,” Mayor Hodges said.

The sick leave proposal will get further review at Friday’s city council meeting. No final vote has been set.

As it stands now, businesses would have six months to a year to implement the plan.

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The city of St. Paul is considering a similar proposal. Many of the city’s religious leaders rallied in support of paid sick leave Tuesday.

Esme Murphy