Minnesota House passes paid family, medical leave bill

The Minnesota House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would create a statewide paid family and medical leave policy. The bill, called House File 2, passed 68-64.

The bill offers Minnesota workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to an additional 12 weeks of paid medical leave.

“The ability to care for yourself, the ability to care for your loved ones is a basic human need and it should not be denied to you because of where you work, the size of your employer,” said bill author Rep. Ruth Richardson, DFL-Mendota Heights.

Rep. Alicia Kozlowski (DFL) -Duluth, voted for in favor of the legislation. Rep. Kozlowski says every day “Minnesotans face impossible choices between losing a paycheck or caring for a new child, an aging loved one, or themselves.”

House Republicans introduced their own proposal for paid family and medical leave, saying their bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, more than a year before House File 2 would take effect.

RELATED: Track the Minnesota Legislature’s progress throughout the session with the KSTP Minnesota Legislative Tracker.

In addition, their bill — called MN Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, or FaMLI — would offer a tax credit for small business owners as an incentive, be a private option backed by an insurance company, and can be opted-in for $5 per week if an employer doesn’t join the program.

“3M, Allina, Xcel, Ameriprise, Best Buy, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Medtronic, Target, United Health, Cub Foods, US Bank, Wells Fargo. If you work for any of those companies, this bill puts a tax on you for a benefit you already have,” said Rep. Nolan West, R-Blaine.

The Minnesotans for Paid Family & Medical Leave Coalition celebrated the House vote saying in a statement:

No matter where we work, our gender, or the color of our skin, all of us deserve the freedom to care for ourselves or loved ones without sacrificing a paycheck . But the vast majority of Minnesotans don’t have access to paid family and medical leave, and most small business owners find meaningful plan offerings unaffordable. Both House and Senate leadership made a strong commitment in January that Paid Family and Medical Leave legislation would be a top priority. Today, the Minnesota House took a major step forward to make good on that commitment by passing a robust bill to create a leave program where everyone contributes, and everyone benefits. After nearly eight years of advocacy, the Minnesotans for Paid Family & Medical Leave coalition and all Minnesotans are ready to join the 12 other states, the District of Columbia, and nearly every industrialized country in the world that offer paid leave to their residents. We look forward to the Senate acting in the coming days to bring Minnesota even closer to being a state where everyone has the freedom to care for themselves and the people they love.

The full Senate has yet to take up the bill for debate.