Minnesota Republicans propose paid leave plan

Some Minnesota Republican lawmakers are pushing for a new plan for paid family leave.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 5:45 PM CDT
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Minn. (KTTC) – Some Minnesota Republican lawmakers are pushing for a new plan for paid family leave. Monday, Republican Senator Julia Coleman introduced a paid family leave plan, an issue she dealt with first hand after the birth of her son.

“I had to use short-term disability insurance to cover the time that I was out,” Sen. Coleman said.

The goal of the proposal is to expand the availability of paid family leave to all parents and broaden the time paid family leave could be used, including to care for sick family members.

“There is a huge critical need for paid family leave in Minnesota in a way that doesn’t hurt small businesses,” Sen. Coleman said.

There are two main components of the plan. The first is to offer tax credits to small business owners who can’t afford to offer paid family leave on their own. The second is to authorize insurance products employees can purchase from employers specifically for paid family leave.

“It’s very broadly defined so that insurance companies can craft what is paid family leave, how much time each employee would get uniquely to each employer, and the employer can decide how much they can offer and how much they can afford,” Sen. Coleman said.

Senator Susan Kent of Woodbury is the sponsor of the DFL version of this plan. Her bill would create a state entity funded through payroll taxes and offer paid family and medical leave.

“You can also take time for yourself if you’re in a car crash and you’re no longer able to work for just a few weeks,” Sen. Kent said.

But Senator Coleman says creating the state-sponsored program will hurt small businesses.

“And if they can’t afford paid family leave benefits, they certainly cannot handle another payroll tax, another mandate and threats of fines,” Sen. Coleman said.

Governor Tim Walz also commented on the proposal. He said that while finding that middle ground between parties can be difficult, Republicans entering the debate is an encouraging development.

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