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Governor Walz urges Paid Family and Medical Leave legislation
Bill is one of the Minnesota
AFL-CIO’s top legislative priorities

Governor Tim Walz

Governor Tim Walz addressed the March 21 rally organized by Minnesotans for Paid Family and Medical Leave, calling proposed legislation “morally the right thing to do.” Walz added: “Paid Family and Medical Leave will get done.”

Adadpted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, April 29, 2023

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — “We don’t know when, we don’t know why, but it is clear all of us will need time to care for ourselves or a loved one.” That was the message shared by Cathy McLeer, AARP Minnesota’s state director, as she emceed a March 21 rally in the State Capitol rotunda organized by Minnesotans for Paid Family and Medical Leave.

Passing paid family leave is one of the top legislative priorities for the Minnesota AFL-CIO, one of three organizations chairing Minnesotans for Paid Family & Medical Leave, a coalition of more than 70 organizations, including 20 labor organizations.

The legislation — House File 2 and Senate File 2 — was working its way through the legislature’s committee structure as the Labor Review went to press April 20.

The legislation would create a state-administered paid leave insurance program, funded equally by employer and employee contributions.

As envisioned, the program would provide up to 12 weeks of partial wage replacement for family leave and medical leave.

‘This bill will change lives.’
—Haylee Hilton, MN AFL-CIO

“This bill will change lives,” said Haylee Hilton, field director for the Minnesota AFL-CIO, addressing the March 21 rally.

“There is no reason this legislation shouldn’t have broad bi-partisan support,” said Governor Tim Walz, who spoke at the rally, calling the legislation “morally the right thing to do… but also economically.”

Currently, only 13 percent of private sector workers have access to paid family and medical leave.

And people of color are less likely to have access to paid leave as well.

Kimberly Wilburn, Minnetonka city council member (left) was among the crowd. She said she attended the rally as part ISAIAH, a faith-based social justice organization. 

Speakers at the rally included everyday Minnesotans who shared heart-wrenching stories about the impact of the lack of paid family and medical leave: someone who struggled to work and care for an elderly parent, a small business owner who tried to help a sick employee, a woman who had to go back to work soon after her baby was stillborn.

Senator Alice Mann (DFL-Edina), chief Senate author of the bill, who is also a physician, said “it’s going to improve the economic health of families across Minnesota.”|

“Doing what’s best for our workers means we’re lifting everyone up,” said Representative Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope), one of the bill’s House authors. “Everybody should have the opportunity not to have financial ruin if they get sick.”

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