The Minnesota legislature passed a bill guaranteeing workers in the state paid sick and family leave time.
Lawmakers say the measure ensures workers have the ability to call in sick or care for a family member without fear of repercussions or losing pay.
“Caring about yourself shouldn’t be about luck, caring for your loved ones shouldn’t be about luck,” Rep. Ruth Richardson said. “It should be about [us] recognizing our shared humanity.”
Republican lawmakers and business owners across the state have called the bill irresponsible due to state spending increases, but DFL lawmakers have insisted that the partial wage reimbursement, which ranges from 55% to 90% of total annual wages, would have minimal effect on Minnesotans wages. The bill calls for a 0.07% contribution, split evenly between the employer and the employee. For a worker making $25,000 a year, that amounts to $1.68 a week.
Lawmakers added an amendment to the bill in order to support small businesses. Among other things it excludes employers with fewer than 30 employees from a $50,000 annual premium.
Previously, employers in Minnesota had no requirement to provide seasonal or temporary employees with paid sick or leave time. Only employees that had been with a company at least half-time over the course of 12 months were required to be covered.
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a 68-64 vote and the Senate by a 34-33 vote. The bill now heads to a committee to hash out the differences between the Senate and House versions before being passed into law. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has pledged to sign the longtime DFL priority.
Once signed, Minnesota would join 11 other states and the district of Columbia in having similar provisions.