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Minnesota considers requiring paid family leave

Family leave includes maternity and paternity leave, as well as leave for caring for a sick family member.

Should Minnesota require paid family leave for its workers? It's a buzzworthy topic all over the country, as parents struggle to balance work and home. 

Now, a coalition is bringing the conversation back into the spotlight in Minnesota.

Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave is renewing its push for state-mandated paid family leave with a news conference at 10 a.m. on Monday at the Minnesota State Capitol, Room BB971-75.

New parents, a caregiver for seniors and a small business owner will be sharing their stories, among others. 

In Minnesota, you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to bond with your baby. But the law also does not require an employer to pay you if you're out sick. However, if the employer chooses to do so, then the employer would have to do the same for someone taking time off to take care of a sick family member.

The public policy proposal Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave supports includes up to 12 weeks of "partial wage replacement" during pregnancy and medical leave. Employees would also get 12 weeks of partially paid family leave, which could include caring for a newborn or a sick family member. It would replace 80 - 55 percent of wages, depending on your income.

However, it comes at a cost. Workers and employers in Minnesota would chip in to an insurance pool, paying anywhere from $1 to a little over $6 each week.

State Democrats already introduced this policy, but the House and Senate blocked hearings of the bill both last year and in 2017. Now, Republican Sen. Karin Housley is leading a new committee that will explore these types of issues.

Housley sent the following statement:

"So many parents are stressed out as they struggle to find balance between their family life, job and finances. Senate Republicans formed a new family-focused committee to find solutions for issues like paid leave, curbing the high cost of day care and supporting better mental health. I'm happy to say I'll be leading those efforts as chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee."

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