MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) - The State Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it’s constitutional to force Milwaukee’s private employers to give mandatory sick leave to their workers. An appeals court refused to rule on the matter last month. It said the Supreme Court should make the decision because the case has major significance. The working women’s group 9 to 5 used the state’s initiative referendum law to put the issue to a binding city-wide vote in 2008. And almost two-thirds of voters favored the mandatory sick leave.
But after the Common Council passed an ordinance for it, the Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce filed suit. It said the referendum was too vague, and a circuit judge agreed last year. The business group also said Milwaukee’s living wage act might trump the sick pay ordinance. Mayor Tom Barrett angered the law’s supporters when he shied away from defending it. He said it would put the city’s businesses at a disadvantage compared to suburban firms which still get to set their own sick leave policies. Barrett said Congress should address the issue nationally.