What families are up against:
Parent-child bonding is critical to healthy child development, with the first 4 to 6 months of life being particularly important. The United States is the only “high-wealth country” in the world that fails to provide paid leave to new mothers. Our paid caregiver leave program would provide parents, particularly working-class parents, with the economic freedom to stay home during their child’s earliest months. Today, too many working people are forced to make difficult financial choices between caring for a loved one and missing a paycheck, or even losing their job. When employers fail to protect the dignity and legitimate rights of workers, the state can step in to ensure that there is justice in employment relationships. During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis said “We cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave room for family life. We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those families just a starting out.”
Article: "When your insurer does not cover your maternity costs" -CNBC
A 2018 survey by The Upshot from the New York Times found that 39% of respondents reported not having enough paid family leave time as a barrier to growing their family.
Survey and Report: "Are Parents' Child Care Preferences Changing? Overview of BPC's Parent Survey"
The State of New York set the example by implementing a paid family policy that is fair to both employees and employer. Minnesota can and should create a policy that matches or improves upon the New York model. Most Minnesotan’s agree that caregiving should be protected and promoted as a cornerstone of family and social policy. When employers fail to protect the dignity and legitimate rights of workers, the state can step in to ensure that there is justice in employment relationships. The life events that create the need for paid leave also create a burden that employers and employees must find a way to carry together. A paid caregiver leave program would help improve Minnesota’s fertility rate by eliminating the specter of income loss and economic insecurity from a couple’s decision to enter parenthood.
Not convinced? Watch this TED Talk to hear another perspective on the issue:
Policy details and legislative strategy:
There several ways that paid leave programs can be constructed. Competing proposals have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature, but neither has been to garner enough stakeholder support necessary to become a reality.vWe encourage the Legislature to continue to explore the full range of proposals that honor the reciprocal relationship for employers and employees. The life events that create the need for paid leave create a burden that employers and employees must find a way to carry together.
One approach would be to call for legislation that would provide new mothers and fathers in Minnesota with a maternity/paternity benefit similar to the New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL) program. the NYPFL is an insurance program that employees pay into through deductions from their paychecks. New York employers are responsible for the administrative aspects of the program and for providing the flexibility in the workplace for employees to utilize the benefit.You can learn more about the NYPFL program here: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/.
In terms of specifics a Minnesota caregiver leave regime could be structured to provide parents with the lesser of 50% of their average weekly wage or the state’s average weekly wage. Both parents would qualify to use this benefit, which would be fully funded by employee payroll contributions.
Do you agree that a Minnesota Paid Caregiver Leave policy would make life easier for growing families in Minnesota? Here's the status of this proposal and what you can do to help bring it into law:
Status: This policy proposal needs a legislative champion!
Action: Connect with your State Senator and State Representative to ask them to introduce this policy as a bill in the legislative session. You can get the tools you need to schedule meetings with your legislators on the Take Action page.
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