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RELEASE: Minn. House approves Earned Sick & Safe Time for all Minnesota workers

Thursday, February 16, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved legislation authored by Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth) to expand Earned Sick and Safe Time benefits to all Minnesota workers. The bill passed on a vote of 69-54. The legislation would ensure, at a minimum, one hour of paid Earned Sick and Safe Time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 48 hours per year.

“In Minnesota, we care about one another and want to live in a state where people and families can be healthy and safe. But getting sick at one point or another is an unavoidable reality,” Rep. Olson said. “When they do get sick, all workers should be able to stay home for the sake of their own health and wellbeing, or to take care of a sick child, or to seek support following an act of violence or trauma. When Earned Sick and Safe Time is guaranteed statewide, no longer will workers have to put their economic security at risk to care for themselves or family members.”

Over 900,000 Minnesota workers – a third of the state’s workforce – lack access to any paid time off when they or a family member are ill or need to see a doctor. Under the bill, Earned Sick and Safe Time could be used for the following purposes:

  • To attend to the worker’s physical and mental health needs, including illness, injury or doctor’s appointment
  • To attend to the physical and mental health needs of a family member (including illness, injury or appointment)
  • Absence due to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking of the worker or a family member
  • If the worker’s job site is closed because of weather or a public emergency, or if a family member’s school is closed
  • If the health authorities have determined that the worker or his/her family needs to stay at home because they could jeopardize the health of others (like a pandemic)

“Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans don’t have access to paid sick time. This is critical both for economic security and to protect public health,” said Speaker Melissa Hortman. “House DFLers are committed to improving economic security for workers and families.”

Duluth, Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and Bloomington already require employers to provide the benefit, while Minnesota now joins 16 other states guaranteeing it statewide. Following today’s vote, the Minnesota House has passed Earned Sick and Safe Time legislation in four of the past five sessions.

“People who lack access to paid time off are disproportionately in low-wage positions, women, immigrants, and members of BIPOC communities,” said House Majority Leader Jamie Long. “Passing this bill will help address Minnesota’s unacceptable racial inequities and make Minnesota a more welcoming and supportive state for workers, families, and children.”

Video of the floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube Channel. The legislation is advancing in the Minnesota Senate where it awaits a hearing in the Finance Committee.

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