SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed HF 2 on a vote of 68-64 to establish a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program. The program would be administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in conjunction with its Unemployment Insurance (UI) program.
Representative John Huot (DFL- Rosemount) voted to support the measure and its passage.
“By passing a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave program in our state, Minnesotans will have the ability to take time to be with their newborn child, keep themselves healthy if they get sick or be with a loved one in the final weeks of their life,” said Rep. Huot. “In today’s economy, no one can afford to miss a paycheck and nobody should have to in order to care for family or themselves.”
Less than 20% of workers in the United States have access to paid family and medical leave through their employers. The rest, predominantly lower-wage workers, face some impossible decisions. Under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers in the U.S. can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth of a child or if the worker or a family member has a serious illness or injury. Most workers, however, cannot afford to take unpaid leave and the FMLA offers little relief.
The United States is the only high-wealth country in the world that does not allow workers to take paid family leave. Further, a compelling majority of Americans support paid family leave. In one recent national poll, 84% expressed support for a national paid family leave program.
The bill’s companion is traveling in the Minnesota Senate.