Paid family and medical leave bill passes third committee

[anvplayer video=”5159138″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee was the third committee to hear and pass Senate File 2, also known as the Paid Family and Medical Leave Bill.

The legislation would give a worker 12 weeks of paid time off to deal with their own health issues, and an additional 12 weeks to care for a family member.

During that time period, an employee would receive about 60% of their regular wages, and this program would be paid for by a tax on employees and employers.

At Tuesday’s hearing, two testimonies were given. One, from a Rochester caregiver.

Toni Mangskau shared how over recent years she’s been a caregiver for five different family members, including her own parents. Mangskau said because of this, she has faced financial and emotional strains.

Mangskau shared the story of when neither her or her siblings could miss work, their mother passed away, alone.

“With all of this juggling of our work schedules, my mom died alone without family at her bedside,” says Mangskau. “My belief is that if we would’ve had a paid family and medical leave law in place, my family would’ve been at her side in her in last moments of life. The value of a family’s emotional support and presence during a loved ones illness, cannot be measured and it should not be degraded, or punished by the fear of financial difficulty.”

On the opposing side, a lot of questions were raised about how this bill could impact the insurance market. The other testimony was from Corey Anderson, who works in disability insurance. His comments were only in regard to the parts of the bill related to medical leave.

“What this bill does is put the state government in direct competition with private sector insurance carriers and insurance agents,” says Anderson. “Let the state concentrate on family leave coverage since there is not a private market that will be displaced.”

Anderson recommended the bill should only mandate employers with more than fifteen employees to offer short term disability coverage with tax incentives.

The committee voted 6-2 to recommend the bill, as is, to move onto the Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans. That committee is scheduled to hear the bill Thursday, January 26, 2023.