Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith announced recently that state workers will be eligible for six weeks of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, state workers can receive twelve weeks of unpaid leave, but paid leave will allow moms and dads more flexibility and security to spend time with their new additions. The plan is already in effect, but will need approval from the Republican legislature early next year to continue. If their past [complete lack of] support is any indicator, Republicans will roll the measure back.
A push for paid family leave for all Minnesotans received support from Governor Dayton and the DFL-led Senate last year, but House Republicans failed to take up the measure. With Republicans now in control of the legislature, statewide paid leave is extremely unlikely to be extended for private sector workers who are only required to receive unpaid leave according to federal law.
While the road to paid leave for all Minnesota parents is now rockier, we can still keep fighting at the local level. Minneapolis has passed paid family leave for full-time workers in the city, and St. Paul has a proposal on the table as well.
One thing is for sure: Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith are setting a strong example of how to respect workers’ responsibilities as parents and acknowledge the balance between hard work and family.