I’m sure there are strong opinions on paid family leaves on both ends, as it is indeed funded by employer and employee tax dollars. On the other hand, as I’ve mentioned before, the United States is the only high earning country that does not offer paid leave after the birth of a child and only one of 8 countries in the world that doesn’t mandate paid leave for new mothers. Paid leaves are starting to build recognition here in the United States and although it might put some stress on you as an employer, studies are showing that when new parents have the capability to stay home to recover and bond, they’re more likely to come back to work for you.
On February 5th, DFL members of the Minnesota legislature joined the new trend and introduced legislation that would provide paid parenting and caregiver leave for employees in Minnesota. Funding for the leave would come from new taxes applied to both employers and employees.
This new bill would amend the Minnesota Parenting Leave Act (MPLA) that was introduced last year.
- Currently employers with more than 21 employees must provide 12 weeks of MPLA. The new bill proposes that any employer one or more employees will need to provide Parental leave.
- Eligible employees are those who have worked more than 680 hours for a specific employer, or worked for the employer for at least 17 weeks. This is a major change from the existing requirement of 12 months of service with 960 hours worked.
- 12 weeks of unpaid leave will be provided to eligible employees for:
- Biological, adoptive, or foster parents in conjunction with the birth, adoption, or placement through foster care of a child
- Female employees for prenatal care, or incapacity due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related health conditions
- The new bill would add caring for a family member who has a serious health condition
In addition to the 12 weeks of leave, the employee will be eligible to apply to receive benefits from the state for up to six weeks of that time for any of these covered forms of leave.
Both employers and employees will contribute towards the funding for this leave through new taxes. Eligible employees must file an application with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), which may require a certification from the employees care provider. The amount of benefits received will vary depending on how much the employee earns in comparison to the median family income in the employees county.