Author Affiliation

Department of Social Work, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Document Type

Policy Advocacy Brief

Publication Date


Issue Statement/Executive Summary

The current policy Minnesota, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), is unpaid and simply insufficient to meet the needs of Minnesotans. In 2016, only 1 in 7 U. S. civilian workers had access to paid family and medical leave (PFML) as an employee benefit. Ten percent of Minnesotans will take family or medical leave (FML) in any given year. While almost three-quarters of Minnesota workers receive at least some pay when they are out of work for family or medical reasons; access to pay during leave is not equally distributed. Low-wage (46%); part-time (38%); less educated (38%); black (42%) or Hispanic (39%); and younger (39%) workers are much more likely to receive no compensation during leave. 90% of companies surveyed in California, the first state to enact guaranteed paid leave, say the law had either a “positive effect or no effect on productivity, profit, morale, and costs.” If paid leave programs in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island can effectively deliver paid leave insurance programs for a small payroll tax of around 1% or less; Minnesota can do the same. Debra Fitzpatrick from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs has laid out six models for how guaranteed paid leave can be achieved, with each a step in the right direction. Model 6 provides the best approach to meeting the needs of all Minnesotans: Up to 12 Weeks of Paid Family and Medical Leave using a Progressive Replacement Rate Structure (80% to 55%) and Maximum Weekly Benefit of $1,000.


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