December 30, 2019
Happy Holiday From The Minnesota Retailers Association
As the year and holiday shopping season come to an end, we hope the final days of 2019 are everything you hoped they would be.
 
From the Board and staff of the Minnesota Retailers Association, we wish you and your team the best this holiday season. Your membership and support over the past year are deeply appreciated, and we look forward to our partnership in 2020!

As you prepare for 2020, remember to add the below items to your checklist.
 
Happy New Year!
Minnesota's Minimum Wage Adjusted For Inflation Jan. 1
From the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, August 21, 2019

Minnesota's minimum-wage rates will be adjusted for inflation beginning Jan. 1, 2020, to $10 an hour for large employers and $8.15 an hour for other state minimum wages.

"This increase is a positive step for workers, yet more work needs to be done to ensure workers earn a living wage to support their families," said Nancy Leppink, commissioner, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. "Minnesota families of three or more will remain at or below the poverty level even though an adult family member is working full time at the minimum wage, forcing many families to seek assistance to make up the living-wage gap."

The current large-employer minimum wage, $9.86, will increase by 14 cents to $10. Other state minimum wages, including the small-employer, youth and training wages, as well as the summer work travel exchange visitor program wage, which are all currently $8.04, will increase by 11 cents to $8.15.

As of Jan. 1, 2020:

  • Large employers must pay at least $10 an hour when the employer's annual gross revenues are $500,000 or more.

  • Small employers must pay at least $8.15 an hour when the employer's annual gross revenues are less than $500,000.

  • The training wage rate, $8.15 an hour, may be paid to employees younger than 20 years of age for the first 90 consecutive days of employment.

  • The youth wage rate, $8.15 an hour, may be paid to employees younger than 18 years of age.

For 2020, an estimated 206,000 jobs will pay the $10 or $8.15 state minimum-wage rates. These rates will not apply to work performed in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which have higher minimum-wage rates.
Minneapolis Wage Theft Ordinance Begins Jan. 1
From the City of Minneapolis, December 30, 2019

The City’s wage theft prevention ordinance is effective Jan. 1, 2020. Contact employers and update hiring and payroll practices now to avoid noncompliance!

Effective January 1, 2020, the City has adopted parts of the state’s new wage theft law, providing another avenue to employees for recovery of unpaid wages. The City’s wage theft prevention ordinance additionally requires employers in Minneapolis to provide sick and safe time accrual and use balances on all earnings statements, and distribute a Minneapolis labor poster to all new hires.

Please share this with anyone needing a reminder or introduction to wage theft prevention. English and Spanish versions of a short 30 second overview are available on the City’s YouTube channel.

Under the ordinance, employers must:
  • Provide employees with written pre-hire notices of certain employment terms. It must be signed by employees. (Download an example at minneapolismn.gov/laborenforcement.) (This example may be used to comply with both city and state wage theft laws.) (*NEW)

  • Follow a regularly scheduled payday. 

  • Provide earnings statements at the end of each pay period.

  • Provide sick and safe time accrual and use balances on all earnings statements. (*NEW)

  • Distribute a Minneapolis labor poster to all new hires. (Copies are downloadable at minneapolismn.gov/laborenforcement) (*NEW)

Resources for businesses:
Example pre-hire notices, FAQs, and Minneapolis labor posters downloadable now at minneapolismn.gov/laborenforcement.
Minneapolis Bag Fee Regulation Begins Jan. 1
From the City of Minneapolis, November 2, 2019

The Minneapolis City Council has passed an ordinance requiring retail establishments to charge a fee of at least 5 cents for carryout bags. The retail establishments will keep the fees. The requirement will go into effect Jan. 1.

The goals of this requirement are to:

  • Encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.

  • Protect resources used to produce paper and plastic bags.

  • Reduce litter.

  • Reduce waste: Minnesotans throw away 87,000 tons of plastic bags every year and recycle less than 5% of them.

  • Keep plastic bags from clogging the gears in recycling facilities, which workers spend four-six hours a day removing.

Exemptions include bags used for produce, bulk foods, small items, carryout restaurants, farmers markets, food banks, retail establishments that do not possess a cash register; secondhand bags, bags sold in packages, dry cleaning bags, bags given out with no transaction; bags given at hospitals, car dealerships and car washes; and bags used for litter cleanup.

People can call 311 about retailers who aren’t complying with the ordinance after Jan. 1. This ordinance came through extensive outreach with businesses and business groups.

The City will do extensive outreach with businesses and work on educating with no fines for the first six months.
St. Paul Minimum Wage Changes Jan. 1
From the City of St. Paul

On November 14, 2018, Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter signed into law a citywide minimum wage ordinance. The signing followed a unanimous vote from the Saint Paul City Council to adopt the ordinance. The City of Saint Paul Minimum Wage Ordinance sets the minimum wage beginning in 2020 for macro businesses. The City of Saint Paul minimum wage ordinance does not contain an adjustment for tipped employees.

The phase-in period will begin in 2020. The phase-in period length for employers will be dependent on business size, as determined by numbers of employees. The City of Saint Paul and macro businesses will lead the citywide phase-in with its own employees starting on January 1, 2020, and reaching a $15 minimum wage starting July 1, 2022. Please note if the state minimum-wage is higher than the city minimum-wage, employees who are covered by both laws must be paid the higher minimum-wage.
The US Officially Raises The Tobacco Buying Age To 21
From CNN, Jacqueline Howard, December 17, 2019

A new law in the United States that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 is now in effect, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Last week, President Donald Trump signed the new minimum age into law as part of a sweeping spending bill. On Friday, the FDA noted on its website that "it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product -- including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes -- to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available."

The increased age restriction for tobacco purchases is one of several provisions outside of the spending measures themselves attached to the broader $1.4 trillion spending agreement.

Trump tweeted last week that the spending agreement "raises smoking age to 21! BIG!" -- marking the change as one of its highlights.
Ask Employees To Join The Team Fighting Opioid & Substance Abuse This Holiday Season; MnRA Initiative Makes It Easy
The holiday season represents the largest retail employment period of the year, which makes this the best time to engage employs in the fight against opioid and substance abuse. In 2017 alone there were 422 Minnesota opioid-related overdose deaths and since 2010 the rate of overdose deaths has been steadily increasing. Your employees are on the front line when it comes to helping friends and family!

MnRA, in partnership with the The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Minnesota, has developed materials you can share with employees to heighten awareness, recognize the signs, practice safe medication safety, and get access to resources.

The ask this holiday season:

  • Be a leader in raising awareness of opioid and substance abuse this holiday season.

  • Share a flyer with employees during a payroll cycle December 15-January 15. The flyer makes a great paycheck stuffer or place the information in your employee newsletter.

  • Post the poster in a place accessible to employees.

Together, retailers and their employees can make a difference in this fight. Join the team today!

Visit www.mnretail.org/jointheteam for downloadable flyers and posters.

Looking for materials in another format? Contact MnRA at mnra@mnretail.org or call (651) 227-6631.