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DFL, GOP Clash Over Paid Family Leave Bill

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A bill providing 12 weeks paid family leave for all Minnesota workers passed a major Minnesota House Committee. While Republicans say they support paid family leave, most disagree with this particular bill.

The debate will likely continue into legislative sessions in the future.

The Paid Family Leave bill making its way through the Minnesota House would require all employers to pay into a new state fund, much the way they do for unemployment insurance, that then could be used to fund to provide partial pay for 12 weeks of paid medical leave.

That could be used for an individual, the birth or adoption of a new baby, or the care of an elderly relative.

DFL Representative Laurie Halverson said employers and employees who already have paid leave policies could opt out and that the payments would be on a sliding scale.

Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo lead the opposition in the House Ways and Means Committee, and countered that Republicans are backing paid leave, but this bill is not the way to do it.

"Four-hundred state employees. That is the number that is going to be required to administer the program," he said. "Everyone wants to see paid leave expanded. ... The DFL has chosen the big government, high-taxed, command and control, 'do what we say' model to impose this on Minnesota workers and Minnesota employers."

The bill passed its ninth House Committee and is now headed to the Minnesota House floor, where passage is expected.

Paid leave bills were also introduced in the last two legislative sessions. While this latest bill is likely to stall out in the Republican-controlled Senate, it has gotten further this year that it ever has, making it an issue whose time and solution may be at hand in a future legislative sessions.

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