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House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee advances paid family and medical leave

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee advanced legislation that expands access to paid family and medical leave. The bill, authored by Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL – Mendota Heights), gives Minnesota workers time to bond with a new baby, care for a family member, or recover from illness.  

"The first weeks after birth are a critical time in the life of a child and a family,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL – St. Paul), the chair of the committee. “Paid family and medical leave gives workers time to be with their loved ones during the most joyful and challenging moments of their lives. House DFLers are committed to providing greater economic security for working families and ensuring that our youngest Minnesotans get the great start in life that they deserve.”

The legislation provides workers with up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per year. Minnesotans could apply for leave to bond with a new child, take care of a family member, or get medical attention for themselves. While on leave, workers would receive a percentage of their regular wages.  

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) would administer the paid family and medical leave program in conjunction with the Unemployment Insurance program. Like Unemployment Insurance, the program is funded by a premium collected as a payroll deduction. Employers and employees could split the costs, with each contributing .3 percent of their payroll. In the case of a worker earning the state average wage, the employer and employee would each pay a premium of $168 per year, about $3.23 per week.  

Video of the hearing is available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel. More information, including documents from the hearing, is available on the committee’s webpage. The House State Government Finance and Elections Committee will hold the next public hearing for the bill on Tuesday, March 2 at 8:30 a.m.