The approximately 32,000 Minnesota state government workers are fortunate to be the recipients of a new benefit that recently went into effect: paid leave for six weeks after their child is adopted or born. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton stated that this benefit will help them attract and keep good employees. Previously, workers in such situations were only eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave, although birth mothers could be eligible for short-term disability pay.
However, whether this benefit will continue in the future is in question. It went through a process in which it was enacted without having to go through a formal legislative vote. At the time, the legislature was not in session, so after the state workers' union approved it, it was sent to the Legislature's Employee Relations Subcommittee. The Subcommittee never took an official vote on the measure, which was tantamount to an approval, meaning the Governor could enact the law, with the contingency that the legislature will have to approve it this spring.
However, next year the Republican-controlled legislature will vote on whether or not to keep the benefit. There are concerns about what this new benefit will cost the State. According to officials, the benefit will cost approximately $200 million annually. These costs will be paid for by each specific department's personnel budgets.
As it stands, both men and women, along with their newborn or adopted child, can benefit from having paid time off. It provides them with economic security during a time when they may need to focus on their health and their family. While it remains to be seen whether the legislature will approve this employee benefit, in the meantime, it could help many Minnesota families.
Regardless of what happens with this particular benefit, people in Minnesota should understand their employee rights when it comes to the benefits that are supposed to go along with their job.
Source: StarTribune, "Paid parental leave granted for Minnesota state employees," Erin Golden, Nov. 22, 2016