Rochester representatives talk paid family and medical leave bill

Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 7:35 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Minnesota representatives held a listening session Saturday in Rochester to preview the paid family and medical leave bill currently making its way through the Minnesota House of Representatives.

State representatives said the current system is costly to workers, families and businesses and they are working on a plan to provide all Minnesotans access to paid family and medical leave benefits.

As the bill is currently written, it will go into effect July 1st, 2025. This bill has two parts, first is to provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical leave. Second, it will provide up to another 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for family leave.

“This isn’t radical, this isn’t something outrageous, we have lots of examples and this bill was crafted with a lot of input from a lot of people for many years to really get the best plan for Minnesota,” representative Kim Hicks (25A) said.

This paid leave would be used for events lasting longer than seven days and while employees take time from away work this bill will provide a wage replacement at 55-90% of an employee’s salary while protecting job and health care benefits.

Representative Andy Smith (25B) said this is a basic workers rights bill.

“Workers no matter where they work will get sick, they’ll have parents that need care, they’ll have children, and it is better for society if those people are looked after and its better for the children especially when we are talking about paid family and maternal and paternal leave,” representative Smith said.

While the bill still pending, amendments could be made to effect who will qualify for these benefits, but representative Hicks said it is intended for everyone.

“It is for everyone, and it is a benefit to make sure everyone can take the time they need if they get sick of it a loved one gets sick,” representative Hicks said.

Opposers raised questions, questioning whether this bill could harm small businesses, but representative Smith said without this program, small businesses are at a bigger disadvantage.

“Life is unpredictable and so we as a society need to band together both employees and the government to make sure when those things happen in life people are taken care of both emotionally and medically,” representative Smith said.

To keep costs low for all, this bill will equally share costs between employers and employees with both contributing around 35-cents per $100 of employee earnings.

This act will also provide safety leave for victims of domestic violence and representatives hope this will reduce reliance on public assistance programs.

For more information about this bill, click here.