FMLA bill continues to move through house committees

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(ABC 6 News) – The FMLA bill has made it through its sixth committee in the house and is inching closer to making it to the house floor. But that didn’t stop local DFL representatives to come out today in support of this bill.

“I don’t think we should take that for granted at all,” said DFL Representative Kim Hicks.

If passed, the bill would provide an employee 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for medical leave and another 12 weeks of partial wage replacement to care for a family member. To pay for it, the employer and employee would contribute .35 percent of every 100 dollars earned by the employee. And depending on how much an employee makes they will earn 55-90 percent of their wages while also keeping their job and their benefits when they are on leave. Right now, under current FMLA laws not everyone has access to these benefits.

“People need the time they need take care of themselves when they are sick, and we can do this as a state. This bill is a really good road map and I’m super excited for it,” said Rep. Hicks.

Jack Priggen owns Cardinal MN. He says he would be happy to provide this for his employees.

“How can I stand before my workforce and tell them I support them and not support this bill,” said Priggen.

But opponents say while they agree with helping families, they don’t think this bill is the solution.

“We can address it better than creating a new huge government bureaucracy,” said Republican Representative Duane Quam.

Rep. Duane Quam says he’s also concerned about how small businesses would survive if this new bill is passed.

“Every one of the business groups that’s contacted me has been concerned with it,” said Rep. Quam.

Under the proposed legislation, this would apply to all businesses big or small, but employers would be allowed to opt out by paying a fee.

Republican Representative Patricia Mueller says not all businesses are the same and only providing one option is dangerous.

“If we were able to offer multiple choices and multiple plans for our businesses, we should really be empowering to find something that’s going to fit them,” said Rep. Mueller.

The bill just past the Human Services Finance Committee and will head to the Commerce Finance Committee next week.