Gov. Walz signs Paid Family and Medical Leave Act into law Thursday

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(ABC 6 News) – Governor Tim Walz signed the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act into law Thursday afternoon.

Gov. Walz was joined by Lieutenant Gov. Flanagan, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic, and advocates of the bill.

RELATED: Paid family and medical leave gains final passage in Legislature, awaits Walz’s signature

The bill gives Minnesota workers up to 12 weeks of paid time off for a serious medical condition, pregnancy, or to care for a family member. Individuals can claim a maximum of 20 weeks of paid leave in a single year.

“Paid family and medical leave is about investing in the people that made our state and economy strong in the first place,” said Governor Walz. “By signing paid family and medical leave into law, we’re ensuring Minnesotans no longer have to make the choice between a paycheck and taking time off to care for a new baby or a sick family member. For the sustainability and health of our workforce and the future of our economy, I’m proud to sign this into law.”

Supporters say the bill would allow Minnesotans to take care of themselves or family members without having to sacrifice a paycheck, which most can’t afford to do.

“Minnesotans should not have to choose between taking care of themselves or loved ones and receiving a paycheck, and thanks to passage of today’s bill they won’t have to. Paid family and medical leave helps Minnesotans across the state get the care they need, helps level the playing field for small businesses looking to recruit and retain staff, and will help our economy thrive. All Minnesotans deserve to be able to care for themselves and their loved ones, I’m thrilled to vote yes on this bill today.”

Senator, Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester)

It received a party-line 68-62 vote on May 17 in the House, with all Republican representatives voting against it. On May 18, the Senate followed suit, approving the bill 34-32.

Republicans have opposed the measure, arguing it burdens employers with a new tax and that many workplaces already offer their own version of long-term paid leave.

The program will be funded through a 0.7% payroll tax for employers participating in both the family and medical benefits and will be disbursed through a new division of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. A one-time $668 million infusion would get the program off the ground until the payroll tax can sustain it long-term.

Workers will be able to begin taking leave and receiving benefits on Jan. 1, 2026.

Watch the bill signing below courtesy of Twin Cities ABC affiliate, KSTP-TV.