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City plans hearings for sick-day rules

Milwaukee wants to collect public input next month on the rules designed to guide the city’s sick-leave law.

Milwaukee staff members finished drafting the rules, which specify what businesses must do to satisfy the broad language of the sick-leave law, said Maria Monteagudo, the city’s employee relations director.

Milwaukee will release the draft to the public in early April and will hold a public hearing later in the month.

The city wants the rules approved before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper rules on a lawsuit challenging the sick-leave law, Monteagudo said. Cooper last month ordered the city to continue drafting the rules when he suspended enforcement of the sick-leave law.

The judge scheduled a May 11 hearing, Monteagudo said, and indicated he will rule within two weeks of that date.

“We’re shooting for that,” Monteagudo said. “I think we’re doing the best we can in terms of being ready for a tentative date a few weeks after the hearing.”

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, which filed the lawsuit, is telling businesses to prepare to participate in next months’ hearings, said Steve Baas, MMAC director of government affairs.

“Because of the vagueness of the ordinance, there are about as many different scenarios facing individual employers as there are individual employers,” he said. “There’s not one single (issue) that we’ve been focusing on.”

Amy Stear, Wisconsin director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women, said her group is working to get Milwaukee residents involved in the hearings. Stear said the organization has its own interpretation of how the laws should be implemented but said she will not comment on that interpretation until the draft is released.

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