Nearly everyone needs paid family or medical leave at some point in their lives, whether it’s to care for a new child, an aging parent, or themselves. Unfortunately, only 13% of Minnesota workers have paid family and medical leave through their employers and access is unequally distributed with differences by race and ethnicity, earnings levels, and work schedules.
As workers struggle to balance caregiving with their job responsibilities, many end up facing economic hardship. Caregiving demands may even lead to effects felt across years or a lifetime due to lost jobs, missed raises, and reduced Social Security benefits. A crisis is facing Minnesota workers and families and even employers who want to do right by their employees and provide paid leave may not be able to afford it. Our current system has failed and is costly to workers, their families, businesses, and our economy.
We believe that Minnesotans should be able to work and care for themselves and their families and that a paid family and medical leave insurance program is a fair, common-sense solution that would let them do both. We advocate for a state-administered program where everyone contributes – both employees and employers – and everyone benefits – workers, families, businesses, and our economy.
The social insurance model for which we advocate has proven effective around the world, including in four U.S. states, such as California, where a medical leave insurance program has been in place since the 1940s and family leave for more than a decade. An insurance model spreads the cost and creates greater equity in access to leave and usage. A majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents nationwide support this solution.
In addition to giving workers and families a measure of economic security during important life events, Paid Family and Medical Leave programs can improve maternal and child health, increase paternal involvement in children’s lives, and help elders age in place while ensuring their caregivers remain employed. They retain women’s participation in the workforce, reduce reliance on public assistance programs, and benefit business by lowering turnover, boosting productivity, and enhancing morale. Paid leave programs help smaller businesses afford a benefit they might not be able to provide on their own, which in turn can make them more competitive and appealing to a new generation of employees.
It’s time to modernize our workplace standards. A Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program is overdue.
Coalition Chairs and Members
Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave is co-chaired by Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, ISAIAH, and the Minnesota AFL-CIO.
Organizational Members: AARP, AFSCME Council 5, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota, Coalition for Women’s Economic Security, Communications Workers of America State Council, Education Minnesota, Family Tree Clinic, Gender Justice, Gray Panthers, ISAIAH, Jewish Community Action, Main Street Alliance of Minnesota, Minnesota AFL-CIO, MAPE, Minnesota AIDS Project, Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Open Access Connections, OutFront Minnesota, River Valley Action, SEIU-Minnesota, Take Action-Minnesota, UFCW Local 1189, Working America