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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jessica Hanson (DFL)

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HF 41: Helping Essential Workers During the Pandemic

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Nurses, caregivers, food workers, service-industry staff, and many other workers have kept Minnesotans safe and healthy while ensuring stability in our economy during this unprecedented pandemic. They have done so while putting their health and safety at risk. Too many essential workers are being forced to use their PTO, dip into their retirement, or even go without pay in when they have to quarantine to keep the public safe, care for a loved one diagnosed with COVID, or parent their child who does not have access to in-person school or childcare. While federal legislation passed at the start of the pandemic provided many workers with paid COVID leave, many essential workers were left out.

I signed on to co-author HF41 with Rep. Cedrick Frazier, and I am grateful for his leadership on this. HF41 will ensure that employers provide their essential workers in Minnesota with emergency leave to care for themselves, their families, and their communities. This leave will ensure that frontline health workers and other essential workers have the financial security to continue protecting and caring for Minnesotans. This bill applies to essential workers who did not receive federal COVID leave as a result of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. That legislation did not cover health care providers, emergency responders, and employers with more than 500+ employees. It does not affect all employers or all workers. We are asking employers – many of whom were originally exempted due to their larger size – to do the right thing by their employees. We are willing to have conversations about how to address this issue, but it cannot come at the expense of extended financial hardship for essential workers. The bill can be viewed and tracked here.

Rep. Jess Hanson, District 56A
421 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155