ST. PAUL, Minn.– New protections for Minnesota families promise to remain a major focus of the 2016 Legislative Session, as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act was heard on Monday in the State and Local Government Committee, on which Sen. Torres Ray serves as chair. The bill received the strong support of many members and advocates for Minnesota families.
The Paid Family and Medical Leave Act proposes to create a statewide insurance program in which “everybody contributes and everybody benefits.” The goal of the legislation is to allow all Minnesota workers to meet the needs of their families without jeopardizing their economic security by expanding their access to paid family and medical leave.
“Currently, only 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave, and that is a drain on both families and our economy,” said Sen. Torres Ray. Of that small percentage, most of those workers are already some of the highest paid in the country – furthering the disparities gap between the haves and the have nots. Sen. Torres Ray continued, “I strongly believe all Minnesota workers should have the ability to care for a new child, an aging parent, or take time to heal from an illness – without having to choose between their careers and their families.”
Research has proven that offering paid family leave leads to healthier children, workers who use less sick time, and in the long run even offer cost savings to businesses thanks to increased employee retention. Paid family leave makes it possible for people to keep their jobs when serious family medical needs arise. It also allows workers to honor their family members by caring for them without having to sacrifice their livelihood to do it.
“In Minnesota, we take pride in leading on progressive issues, always saying yes to inclusivity, better working conditions, and higher wages,” said Sen. Torres Ray. “Creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program is the next step. In order for our state economy to continue to thrive, our businesses must adapt to the needs of the 21st century workforce. Paid Family Leave is a proven method to supporting heathier and stronger families everywhere.”