St. Paul, Minn.—Today the Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition held a press conference headlined by bill chief author Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove). Many DFL Senators attended to show their support for this important bill. The following Senators have released statements of support for paid family and medical leave, a Senate DFL Caucus session priority: Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), President of the Senate Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul), Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis, Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley), Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield), Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis), Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina), Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul), Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Blaine), and Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury).
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook):
“My children and grandchildren have directly benefited from generous employers that provided paid parental leave. I have been fortunate to have the time and means to provide care to my own aging parents. These examples should not be an exception in Minnesota. Paid family and medical leave modernizes our workplaces and will make Minnesota more attractive state for workers. We need all Minnesotans to work their highest potential, workers to return to the workforce and their regular duties, and to recruit and retain the best and the brightest to our state.”
President of the Senate Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul):
“For too long, families across Minnesota have faced the impossible choice between caring for their loved ones and keeping a level paycheck, and it’s time the State of Minnesota responded. Workplace policies haven’t kept up with the realities of 21st Century families,” said Pappas “Passing policies that allow workers to handle caregiving situations without negative economic repercussions should be a priority for the families who contribute so much to our state.”
Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis):
“No matter where workers fall on the income scale, they deserve access to the same quality of life and quality of care options. I support paid leave because building an economy that works for everyone means supporting the economic stability of families. Families are the first and greatest safety net, flexible paid time off allows for a relative to help an elder age in place, parents to bond with a new child, or a worker to resolve a crisis at home without fear of losing their economic stability. Our workplaces need to work for workers and I am proud that today is the important first step in making this a reality in the 2016 session,” Hayden said.
Sen. Greg Clausen (DFL-Apple Valley):
“I’ve introduced a number of bills to address Minnesota’s growing workforce shortage. Hardworking Minnesotans deserve basic benefits that let them care for themselves or family members when they are sick, and that lets parents take time to raise their children. These important benefits can help reduce the workforce shortage by providing workers more flexibility to return to their jobs after caring for a new child or ailing elder,” Clausen said.
Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield):
“Paid family leave is about so much more than getting some time off work. Research shows that workers who can take time off to support their families are healthier, more financially secure, have better relationships with elderly parents and newborn babies, and their children do better in school. This policy supports all Minnesota families, not just those at the top, so everyone has the opportunity to earn a living and still support their families.”
Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis):
“Although Minnesota’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, the truth is that far too many people in our community are facing financial instability and are struggling. Too many people can’t afford to take a day off, and are forced to work sick or to leave their sick child at home alone. Together with my colleagues, I’m working to build an economy that works for everyone by expanding access to sick and paid family leave for working Minnesotans.”
Sen. Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina):
“I believe the time has come to discuss this important issue. As a new mother, I understand the challenges of balancing work and family obligations with the birth of a new baby. A parent should not have to choose between their child and their job. A balanced parental leave policy would support families and would be an attractive benefit for employees.”
Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-St. Paul)
“Everyone should have the opportunity to earn a good living, support their family, and retire securely, not just those at the top. People with lower incomes, part-time workers, and employees of color are among the least likely to have access to paid sick and family leave. This is not just an economic proposal; it’s also a justice issue,” Hawj said.
Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Blaine):
“I have spent my entire political career advocating for children and families, and paid family leave is one of those rare issues that affects not only our workforce and the economic well-being of families, but also the health of Minnesotans and the educational success of their children. A Minnesota Department of Health study shows that people with paid leave use less sick time, their healthcare costs go down, and their children do better in school,” Johnson said.
Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury)
“I know first-hand the importance of policies at the workplace that allow families to take time off for an inevitable sickness, illness in the family, or a new baby. When we support workers by allowing them to care for their families, it’s not only the workers who benefit, but their families and the employers themselves by improving morale and enjoying higher employee retention. Minnesota is known for being a progressive state that invests in its workforce and takes care of its workers. Supporting paid family leave policies is the natural next step to promoting stronger, healthier families and businesses.”
Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick):
“Minnesota is entering into uncharted territory with our aging population. Baby boomers are retiring and in the next 50 years the number of people over 65 is going to double. The state’s care facilities are not going to be able to meet this kind of demand and family members will be asked to take a larger role in the care of their aging relatives.
Paid family leave is a way to help employees faced with the impossible choice of caring for a sick relative or earning a pay check make the best choice for their family. Paid family leave is the right choice for employers and the state. It’s estimated that nearly $8 billion dollars in lost wages is the result of caring for a sick relative. We shouldn’t be forcing hard working Minnesotans into making this choice,” Lourey said.
Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-White Bear Lake):
“Minnesota’s workplaces need to work for our families. As the state rapidly approaches a workforce shortage, businesses and workplaces need to adapt. I support policies like the bill introduced today that don’t force workers to have to choose between their families and their careers. This bill will improve opportunities for all Minnesotans so that everyone has the chance to earn a good living, support their family and retire securely,” said Sen. Wiger.