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Lt. Governor Tina Smith Announces Six Weeks of Paid Parental Leave for State Employees

11/17/2016 10:44:12 AM

Dayton-Smith Administration announcement makes the State of Minnesota a national leader
Minnesota’s new paid parental leave policy provides employees same benefit available to local governments, Mayo Clinic, U.S. Bank, and General Mills employees
Paid parental leave will save new parents an average of nearly $6,200 in wages at a time when they need it most
ST. PAUL, MN – Lt. Governor Tina Smith today announced that up to six weeks of paid parental leave is now available to 32,000 state employees across Minnesota. This nation-leading effort from the Dayton-Smith Administration will save families around the state an average of $6,200 in wages at a time when many parents need it most. It also gives parents the opportunity to spend time with their children as they learn, grown, and bond. Minnesota is only the fourth state in the nation to offer paid parental leave to its employees.
“I became a new mom in 1987. At the time, I ran my own business out of the house, and Archie worked long hours and traveled constantly. Two years later, we had another son. I was able to take time away from work for both babies,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I don't know how we would have managed without this crucial time. Today’s announcement means that more than 32,000 Minnesota state employee families will have that same opportunity. This is an important step, but we need to keep working so access to family and medical leave isn't determined by the luck of where parents work.”
State employees previously could use accrued sick leave or purchase short-term disability insurance coverage to take paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. As a result, non-birth parents and newer employees with more limited incomes or sick time had fewer opportunities to bond with a new child. Providing six weeks of paid parental leave to state employees will expand the opportunity for paid bonding time to more than 32,000 Minnesotans across the state.
This initiative is based on the recommendations of the state’s Parental Leave Working Group, which was formed in 2015 and consists of representatives of state agencies and state employees. Providing paid parental leave will cost the state of Minnesota about $2 million a year. The effort from the state follows many Minnesota employers who already offer paid parental leave, including Mayo Clinic, U.S. Bank, Target, Ecolab, General Mills, Hennepin County, Minneapolis and St. Paul, University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
Expanding Opportunity for New Parents
·         Saving Parents an Average of Nearly $6,200 – Giving up six weeks of pay would cost the average state employee nearly $6,200 in income, at a time when they need it most. By providing paid parental leave, these parents can continue earning that income, while caring for their families.
·         Providing a Bridge to Child Care – Most childcare programs won’t allow a child to enter their programs until he or she is at least six weeks old. Providing new parents six weeks of paid bonding leave will help provide working parents a bridge to childcare, and families are not forced to forgo their wages while waiting to enroll their child in a quality childcare program.
·         Equal Opportunities for Minnesota Families –Currently, state employees can use accrued sick leave, or purchase short-term disability insurance coverage, to take paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. This effort provides six weeks of leave for state employees, regardless of income, accrued sick leave, whether they are mothers or fathers, biological or adoptive parents.
·         Healthier, Happier Families – Studies have shown that paid parental leave leads to better health outcomes for both parents and children, including increased birth weight and lower rates of infant mortality.
Strengthening the State Workforce
·         Better Employee Recruitment and Retention – As the state’s workforce ages, paid parental leave is a valuable recruitment tool for the state to attract and retain new and diverse employees. Mothers who receive paid parental leave are significantly more likely to return to work and continue their careers after the birth or adoption of a child.
·         Better Employee Morale – Minnesota workers shouldn’t have to choose between their career and their family. The State of Minnesota supports employees who have to balance the demands of their job with their responsibilities as a parent. By providing a work environment that values families, paid parental leave will improve employee morale and engagement in the workplace.
·         Leading by Example – Providing six weeks of paid parental leave to state employees, alongside Minnesota local governments and businesses already offering paid parental leave, will help set the standard in Minnesota for providing good employment opportunities for Minnesotans across our state.


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