Senate DFL Members joined Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, House DFL Members, and leaders from the Minnesotans for Paid Leave Coalition to announce the 2021 version of a Paid Family and Medical Leave proposal. The proposed legislation would ensure all workers in the state have access to up to 12 weeks of leave for the purposes of family care, pregnancy, serious health condition, and other purposes.
There are currently 9 states that have passed a Paid Family and Medical program in law, with 6 of those states having fully implemented the programs. Proponents of the legislation highlighted the potential impact in reducing racial, gender, and economic disparities in the economy. Women are more likely to take on unpaid caregiving roles, either leaving the workforce or adding responsibilities to care for loved ones. In addition, the bill allows both parents to take leave in the event of a birth or adoption of a child, helping to close gender gaps in childcare and opportunities in the workforce.
Women and people of color have also been far more likely to lose their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters of this legislation stated the proposed legislation would provide needed security and opportunities for those workers to return to the labor force by ensuring that they would not lose their jobs if a medical event or the need to care for loved ones took place.
The legislation received a hearing in the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee and passed the committee by a vote of 9-4. No hearings have been scheduled in the Senate at this time. (SF1205)