Reports show that the United States is among a very small group of countries (nine, to be exact) that do not offer any guarantee of paid maternity leave for new mothers. This puts us behind every other advanced economy, including Canada, Great Britain and China. And while we’ve made progress in Minnesota, we’re still far behind where we should be.
Cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park began offering paid parental leave for city workers as early as 2014. Governor Dayton has advocated for paid family leave for all state workers. The DFL-controlled Senate passed a bill that included paid family leave in the 2016 legislative session, a step that would have put Minnesota on par with the rest of the world. However, Republicans in the House, always putting big business first, blocked this measure for thousands of Minnesota families.
Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their careers and their families. Ensuring that all working mothers (and fathers) will receive paid leave guarantees greater economic security for families across Minnesota. Unfortunately, with Republicans in control of the House, Minnesotans are unlikely to see paid family leave become law. A new 2017 DFL majority, however, would make the possibility of paid family leave for all Minnesotans much more likely, as well as a focus on the things that will build opportunities for everyone, not just the wealthy.