Duluth City Council hears community input on ESST proposal - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Duluth City Council hears community input on ESST proposal

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Nearly two dozen community members spoke in front of the Duluth City Council Monday night, in favor of the Earn Sick and Safe Time proposal.

A majority of those who spoke wanted the council to adopt the ESST Task Force's recommendations rather than the proposed changes from council members. 

The Earned Sick and Safe Time Task Force worked for nine months putting together what they call a majority recommendation for a sensible paid sick time policy that will ensure workers are granted time to take care of themselves, or a loved one when they're sick. 

However, the city councilors who drafted the ordinance had different recommendations than the Task Force. 

City Council President Elissa Hansen and Councilor Noah Hobbs are suggesting changes to the task forces policy overviews. 

The task force recommended all employers except for private contractors be covered under the ordinance while the councilors suggested only employers with 15 or more employees.

Another policy the task force recommended was workers accrued 1 hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked while the councilors aimed for 1 hour for every 50 hours worked. 

Advocates are concerned with pieces of the ESST policy proposal. 

Members of Duluth's ESST coalition are urging City Council members to pass recommendations made by the Task Force. 

Chad Ronchetti, a member of the ESST Task Force says, "it is important to remember that good policy works to represent every constituent voice. A lofty goal, but one I think effective policymakers strive for. Looking at this draft policy outlined before me, I'm thankful for the efforts being made by this council to blend those constituent voices."

Everyone who spoke was in favor of the ordinance many just hoping for a few amendments before a final draft is made. 

Councilor Hobbs says that the current draft is a very good starting point. He believes that the council and Task Force will find common ground for what works best for businesses and their employers. 

Hobbs says that they plan on following the task force recommendations of 1-hour accrual for every 30 hours and also putting a cap at 5 days or 40 hours of sick days annually. 

The first draft is set to be read at March 12 City Council Meeting. 

Other Ordinances Passed by the Council

Also Monday, the Duluth City Council approved a number of ordinances that have been on the table.  

The Council voted 7-2 to support the Spirit Landing Kayak Launch Site. 
It's a proposal that would allow universal access to a paddle sports launch along the St. Louis River in West Duluth. 

The council also passed 8-1 to increase the amount of money for converting the existing Duluth energy steam system to a hot water system, bringing a new total of over a million dollars. 

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