Minnesota DFL pushes for paid family leave

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(ABC 6 News) – The Minnesota DFL has proposed a paid family and medical leave before but it never made it to a vote in the senate. Now, with the control of the house and senate they are making another push to get this bill passed.

The paid family medical leave program would provide 12 weeks of paid leave for employees who are unable to work due to family or personal health reasons.

“Thats something the community needs, I think anyone in in Minnesota should go for it. Reason being everybody has a different recovery time for whatever injury they may have,” said Rochester resident Thomas Mitchell.

Governor Walz says this bill is about people, “this is not only ethically the right thing to do, making life better for people making them not have to choose between their livelihood, their house payments or taking their children to the doctor it’s also what keeps employees in place.”

But not everyone agrees with the bill. Republican Representative Patricia Mueller says this plan is a bad idea.

For me. In a time where people are struggling to find workers, struggling to uh you know to have their dollars stretched even farther and having a 17-billion-dollar surplus raising taxes to implement a program like this is probably not a wise situation,” said Mueller.

Cindy Anderson is from the Twin Cities but does business in Rochester and she has her concerns about the bill.

“Well, it sounds great if that’s something that you need and you desire, however if we’re going to have to pay more taxes then that’s a concern,” said Anderson.

And Representative Mueller says this could also be a huge blow to small businesses.

“See it’s important for us to remember that over 1.2 million Minnesotans work for small businesses, and something like this would be crushing to our small business,” said Mueller.

Businesses will be able to opt out of the program and provide their own program to their workers by applying to do so and pay a one-time fee based on the size of their business.

Mueller says that’s a bit misleading, “even in you opt out you still have to meet all the requirements, eligibility and benefits as the state plan so actually not really much of an opt out option for our businesses.”

Some estimates show that this program could cost roughly $1 billion. The governor has said that he’ll have more details when he presents his budget recommendations later this month. The DFL wants to use part of the state’s surplus to jump-start the program.