SAINT PAUL, MN — Tonight, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the Paid Family & Medical Leave Act, legislation authored by Representative Laurie Halverson (DFL – Eagan). The bill passed on a 70-59 vote.
“Far too often, Minnesotans are forced to choose between work and taking care of themselves or a loved one,” said Rep. Halverson. “Paid family and medical leave gives workers time to bond with a new child, help out an aging parent, or care for a sick family member. Offering these benefits would help Minnesota businesses, particularly small employers, attract and retain workers. It’s a common-sense solution that would help millions of hardworking Minnesotans and their families live and work with dignity.”
The Paid Family & Medical Leave Act provides Minnesotans with up to 12 weeks of leave to recover from illness, bond with a new baby, or care for a loved one. Workers with qualifying family events and medical conditions could apply for leave to take care of a family member or get medical attention for themselves. They would receive a percentage of their regular wages while on leave.
Funding for paid family and medical leave would be shared between employers and employees. The program is modeled on Unemployment Insurance and would be funded by a premium collected as a payroll deduction. Employers and employees could split the costs evenly, with each paying about .3 percent of their payroll. In the case of a worker earning the state average, the employer and the worker would each pay about $168 a year or $3.23 per week.
The bill provides flexibility for employers. Employers can opt out of the program if they provide equivalent benefits.
Nationwide, only 14 percent of workers have access to paid family and medical leave.