DULUTH, Minn. — A city in eastern Minnesota may be the next in the state to require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers.

The Duluth City Council has created a task force to research paid sick time laws around the U.S. and gather public views on the matter, Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2ua7DKp ) reported. Minneapolis and St. Paul recently adopted ordinances that require paid leave.

Some business owners said it will disrupt their current practices, while others said it will benefit employees.

“I don’t want to be told what to do and how to spend my money, because it might be detrimental to my business, and my customers and my employees,” said Brian Daugherty, president of Grandma’s Restaurant.

Northern Waters Smokehaus has offered its roughly 70 employees paid sick leave for the past six years.

“From our perspective, it’s just a very smart business decision,” said co-owner Lynn Goerdt. “And it has shown to impact recruitment and retention of employees. And maintain healthier employees. It just makes sense.”

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that 46 percent of Duluth workers don’t have access to paid sick time.

Giving employees sick days could help attract people to the community, said Marsha Hystead, a partner in the marketing firm Hailey Sault.

However, rigid mandates in Minneapolis and St. Paul have divided the community, said Dave Jensch, manager of Duluth television station KBJR and chairman of the Duluth Greater Downtown Council board. He said it’s important for the city to “be seen as a business-friendly community that embraces economic development and growth.”

The task force is considering a series of options, from no ordinance at all to a strict mandate. They’re expected to present recommendations to the City Council in September. Council President Joel Sipress said he hopes to vote on the issue by the end of the year.

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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