NEWSBRIEF: St. Paul City Council introduces Labor Standards Enforcement & Education Division

On July 17, the St. Paul City Council introduced an administrative ordinance in preparation for the first minimum wage increase to be effective on Jan. 1, 2020. The ordinance creates a new Labor Standards Enforcement and Education Division within the Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) department to implement both minimum wage and earned sick and safe time. Key components of the ordinance include: 

• An online portal for the public to access information about labor standards laws in the city. 

• Strong partnerships with businesses and community agencies for effective outreach and implementation. 

• Annual study to review the impacts of labor standards policies such as minimum wage and earned sick and safe time. 

• An advisory committee that will support the implementation and outreach of minimum wage and earned sick and safe time, review and make recommendations regarding current and future labor standards policies and practices.

Sponsors of the administrative ordinance include council members Dai Thao, Rebecca Noecker, and Jane Prince. All three council members have continuously voiced support for raising the minimum wage and the desire to ensure a successful rollout. 

“I’m proud of the work we have done to raise the labor standards in the city. In order for us to have long term success, we need strong business and community partnerships to make this work, and the creation of an advisory committee will help us do that. They will meet with staff regularly on the rollout and provide support for broader and greater outreach and education,” said Thao. 

Prince added, “It is not enough to adopt ordinances to improve the lives of workers, we need to ensure that businesses and employees are well informed about their rights and obligations. By our actions here, the city is establishing guidelines for an effective rollout.”   

“It’s also critical that we have adequate staff to ensure all employers and employees are educated about the changes in law and that all complaints are investigated thoroughly and fairly,” said Noecker.  

The ordinance was drafted in partnership with labor, community and business representatives. The public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Aug. 7 at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd, Council Chambers 300, St. Paul, MN 55102.

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