On the Senate Floor today, Senate DFLers led by Senator Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) pressed to deliver paid family and medical leave for Minnesotans so that no one has to choose between a paycheck and caring for a newborn, a newly-adopted child, or a family member who is sick.
The effort was blocked by the Republican majority, who refused to even allow debate on Sen. Kent’s measure. Instead, Republicans passed a plan to create only a limited insurance program for businesses that falls far short of comprehensive coverage for Minnesotans in need of paid family and medical leave.
“Minnesotans are asking for help to ensure that no one has to choose between getting a paycheck and caring for a new baby or a loved one facing a health crisis. Unfortunately, the Republican proposal leaves hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans behind,” said Senator Kent. “My amendment would give all Minnesotans paid family and medical leave. However, my colleagues in the majority want to claim they are doing the same thing but offer far less.”
While DFLers voted unanimously to support debate on Sen. Kent’s measure to provide comprehensive paid family and medical leave for every Minnesotan, every Republican voted to shut down debate on it.
Sen. Kent said the Republican bill puts paid leave requirements entirely in the hands of insurance companies, who get to decide the length of leave and amount of wages their policies would cover, and under what circumstances. The plan would only work for those who can afford to pay for an insurance policy, and for those who have the ability to navigate the insurance system and anticipate the need for the benefit, she said.
“We had a real opportunity to bring the type of paid family leave that Minnesotans need, unfortunately, those efforts were blocked,” said Sen. Kent. “What we are left with is a Republican plan that forces Minnesotans to buy family leave from an insurance company. It’s a failure of leadership and it leaves Minnesota families without real family and medical leave.”