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Governor Dayton Proposes Six Weeks of Paid Parental Leave for All State Employees

2/9/2016 12:28:28 PM

Governor Dayton’s proposal would save new parents nearly $6,200 in wages, on average, at a time when they need it most

Over 35,000 state employees would be eligible for paid parental leave benefits, making the State of Minnesota a better, more competitive employer

Governor Dayton’s proposal follows new paid parental leave policies now provided to employees of local governments, Mayo Clinic, U.S. Bank, General Mills, and others

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today announced his proposal to provide six weeks of paid parental leave for all state employees. The proposal, which Governor Dayton announced during a forum with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, is one of the Governor’s first budget proposals for the upcoming 2016 Legislative Session. When enacted, over 35,000 state employees would be eligible for the benefit. The Governor’s proposal would save new parents nearly $6,200 in wages, allow them the time and financial flexibility to care for their children at a crucial moment of development, and ensure their children have a parent at home until they are old enough to enter a quality childcare program.

“For far too long, we have forced tens of thousands of hard-working parents to make an impossible choice: to spend time with their newborn or recently-adopted child, or earn the money they need to care for their families,” said Governor Dayton. “Six weeks of paid parental leave should be guaranteed for all hard-working Minnesotans; not just the wealthy few. It is time for the state to lead by example. I look forward to working with the Legislature this session to implement this family-focused reform.”

The Governor’s proposal is based on the recommendations of the state’s Parental Leave Working Group. For the last six months, the Parental Leave Working Group has been studying the state’s options for offering paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of children of state workers. The Working Group was comprised of Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) officials, the State’s Human Resources Directors, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), the Middle Management Association, and AFSCME Minnesota.

“You cannot put a value on the time parents spend with their babies during first few weeks of their child’s life – time every parent and child deserve,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Some parents can afford to forgo six weeks of pay to stay home with their child, but far too many cannot. By his action today, Governor Dayton commits that all state employees will have the option of taking six weeks of paid parental leave. I look forward to fighting alongside him to secure this important step forward for our employees. Minnesota should lead the way on this pro- family, pro-working parent policy. Our children deserve nothing less.”

Many public employers in Minnesota are already offering paid parental leave for their employees, including Hennepin County, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). Governor Dayton’s proposal for six weeks of paid parental leave proves Minnesota is a leader in advancing workplace policies that support families and children. In addition, some of Minnesota’s largest employers provide employees with paid parental leave, including the Mayo Clinic, U.S. Bank, Target, Ecolab, and General Mills.

"Governor Dayton's announcement is the culmination of work by a strong coalition of advocates, labor leaders, community organizers, and progressive elected officials who are listening to the voices of workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. “Although the United States remains the only industrialized country in the world without a federal paid leave policy, I am encouraged by the work states such as Minnesota are taking to fill the void and support working families. President Obama and I will continue to call for a federal paid leave policy so that no parent has to choose between the work they need and the family they love."

Supporting New Parents, Strengthening Minnesota Families
Currently, state employees may use accrued sick leave or purchase short-term disability insurance coverage to take paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child. Providing six weeks of paid parental leave would ensure state employees have a guaranteed amount of paid time off with a new child, especially for newer employees with limited sick time. This proposal would also save hard-working Minnesotans thousands of dollars, when they need it most.
• Helping An Estimated 500 Parents Every Year – According to Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), over 35,000 state employees would be eligible for paid parental leave under the Governor’s proposal. MMB estimates 500 new parents would benefit from the proposal every year. 

• Saving Parents Nearly $6,200, On Average – According to Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), forfeiting six weeks of pay would cause the average state employee (between ages 18 and 44) to lose almost $6,200 of income, at a time when they need it most. By ensuring all state employees receive paid parental leave, these parents can continue earning that income while caring for their families.

• Providing a Bridge to Child Care – Many childcare programs do not allow a child to enter their programs until her or she is at least six weeks old. Providing new parents six weeks of paid leave will help provide working parents a bridge to quality childcare and ensure no family is forced to forgo their wages while waiting to enroll their child in a quality childcare program.

• Treating All Parents the Same – The Governor’s proposal would provide the same amount of parental leave (six weeks) for all for state employees, regardless of whether they are mothers or fathers, biological or adoptive parents.

• Ensuring Financial Stability for Hard-Working Families – Six weeks of paid parental leave would ensure that no state employee would be forced to go without a paycheck in order to care for or bond with his or her newborn or newly-adopted child.

• Better Health Outcomes for Families – Studies have shown that paid parental leave policies, like the one proposed by Governor Dayton, produce better health outcomes for both parents and children, including increased birth weight and lower rates of infant mortality.

Better Family Policies Help Create a Better State Government
Providing state employees with paid parental leave will make state government work better for the people of Minnesota.

• 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 should not have to choose between their careers and their families. The State of Minnesota supports employees who have to balance the demands of their jobs with their responsibilities as parents. By providing a work environment that values families, paid parental leave will improve employee morale and engagement in the workplace.

• Leading by Example – Governor Dayton’s proposal for six weeks of paid parental leave would make the state a workforce leader compared to other public, private, and nonprofit organizations providing paid parental leave.


FACT SHEET: Learn more about the Governor's proposal. [ /governor/assets/2016_02_08_paid_parental_leave_FACT_SHEET_tcm1055-154759.pdfLink ]
GIF: View and share this GIF about the Governor's proposal. [ /governor/assets/paid_parental_leave_tcm1055-154760.gifLink ]
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