October 17, 2021

Volume XI, Number 290

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October 15, 2021

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Court of Appeals Revives Milwaukee Sick Pay Ordinance

District IV of the Court of Appeals, (Madison) has reversed the Milwaukee County Circuit Court’s injunction and dismissal of the City of Milwaukee Sick Pay Ordinance. In a 49 page decision issued on March 24, 2011, the Court of Appeals reached a series of conclusions, including that the Ordinance is constitutional, within the police powers of the City, and is not preempted by existing federal and state laws. Our client, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce  (“MMAC”) has the legal right to ask for reconsideration or to appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Milwaukee Sick Pay Ordinance would require employers in the City of Milwaukee to provide nine paid sick days per year to its full-time employees (five paid sick days for employers with fewer than 10 employees).         

The Ordinance was passed by direct legislation by City of Milwaukee voters in November of 2008. The MMAC won an injunction and later dismissal of the Ordinance at the trial court, so the Ordinance (widely criticized by Milwaukee employers and many employees) has not taken effect. In response to the Milwaukee Ordinance, many surrounding communities adopted ordinances to prohibit sick pay mandates at the local level.  

Beyond the MMAC’s continuing legal challenge to block the unconstitutional and ill conceived Ordinance, the Wisconsin state legislature is considering a law that would prohibit a local municipality from adopting a paid sick leave measure. The proposed state law would clarify that mandated employment leaves can only be done on a statewide level and thus avoid the creation of “regulatory islands” in the state.

©2021 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume I, Number 84
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About this Author

scott c. beightol, partner, labor and employment law, michael best law firm
Partner

Scott counsels clients on their “people” issues. Businesses, owners, and boards of directors look to Scott as their outside general counsel to ensure legal compliance of their operations and initiatives. Scott represents businesses before federal and state courts and administrative agencies throughout the country in all areas of employment law, with particular focus on:

  • Employment discrimination, including before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  • Non-compete and trade secrets
  • Labor...
414-225-4994
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