Today, Senate DFL Leader Susan Kent joined Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, Representative Ruth Richardson, and advocates from the Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave coalition at a press conference today to call for legislation ensuring that workers have the opportunity to care for themselves or a loved one in a time of need, without sacrificing economic security.
Following the press conference, Leader Kent released the following statement:
“I am proud to stand alongside an incredible coalition of people to say that Minnesotans should not be forced to choose between collecting a paycheck or caring for a loved one – we can and must do better,” said Leader Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury). “I first authored this legislation in 2017 and Paid Family and Medical Leave is just as important now, more than ever. We know that the lack of a support system around paid leave disproportionately affects lower-income earners and contributes to disparities in our state. This was highlighted even more during the pandemic.”
“It is critical that we prioritize paid family and medical leave, to ensure Minnesota families have the support they need to care for a family member with a serious health condition or to bond with a new baby. I urge my Republican colleagues in the Senate to do the right thing and pass this important legislation now. Minnesotans and their families are counting on us.”
Under the proposed legislation, benefits include 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave which will be paid from the Paid Family Medical Leave Fund. The benefits will include coverage for individuals with a serious medical condition, those caring for a family member, or bonding time with a new child. This effort is a significant proposal within Governor Walz’s proposed budget.
Senator Kent is the chief author of the 2021 Paid Family and Medical Leave proposal (SF 1205). The House companion bill, HF 1200 (Richardson), received a hearing in the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee and passed the committee by a vote of 9-4.