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Many Minnesota workers, including working parents, lack access to paid leave, including disproportionate numbers of low wage, Black, Hispanic, part-time, and younger workers. The United States is the only advanced economy that doesn’t require paid leave, and it’s time to modernize our workplace standards. Paid leave enhances family health, protects family economic security, reduces reliance on public assistance programs, and benefits employers by lowering turnover, boosting productivity, and enhancing morale.
As one of three co-chairs of the Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave coalition, we worked in 2015 with partners and legislative champions to pass a Paid Family and Medical Leave program analysis, and in March 2016, worked with state Senator Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove) and Representative Jason Metsa (DFL-Virginia) to introduce the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. The comprehensive, expert analysis informed the Act, which created a state-administered insurance program that would allow workers to take time to care for themselves or loved ones, including new children and seriously ill children, while receiving partial wage replacement. The bill received six hearings in the Senate and passed off the Senate floor as part of their omnibus tax bill. For the second year in a row, the House did not give paid family leave legislation a hearing and blocked passage. Creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program remains one of our top priorities in 2017. Lawmakers did not take action on Earned Sick and Safe Time legislation in 2016. CDF-MN was proud to be a member of the St. Paul Earned Sick and Safe Time Task Force to help create change for workers and families at the city level.
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota believes Minnesotans should be able to work and care for themselves and their families. CDF-MN supports a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program and earned sick and safe time, and works with both the Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave coalition and the Minnesota Benefits coalition to advocate for these important program and policy changes.