Minneapolis set to increase paid parental leave, statewide report shows lack of access

The state’s largest city is taking a big step to improve the lives of its employees and their new families while retaining workers.

On Thursday, the Minneapolis City Council will vote on a policy change that would increase the city’s paid parental leave to twelve weeks – tripling its current policy of three weeks of paid parental leave. The policy change was unanimously approved by the Policy and Government Oversight Committee.

During his 2023-24 budget proposal on Monday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey emphasized why this decision is important.

“Some say this benefit will lead to a reduction in productivity during those extra nine weeks off,” Mayor Frey said in his budget speech, adding, “I would say it’s a much bigger loss when a employee is going to work elsewhere because they can’t have a baby and were simultaneously working for the city of Minneapolis.

Under state law, all Minnesota workers are entitled to twelve weeks of parental leave — if the Minneapolis City Council approves this change, municipal workers could be paid for that entire time.

“We need to do better in this country and I couldn’t be more proud of Minneapolis for picking up the slack,” said Sarah Longacre, Founder and Owner of Blooma.

Minneapolis-based Blooma has helped thousands of families prepare for parenthood through education, yoga, and wellness services.

Longacre is a mother herself and says quality time after a birth or addition to a family is crucial for both parent and baby.

“We know birth can be scary and bringing a human into this world can be overwhelming,” Longacre said. “But really, [I see] tears and anguish [when] people come to Bluma and say “I’m going back to work next week”.

The move from Minneapolis is incremental — to add context to the possible expansion, neighboring twin city St. Paul is offering its employees four weeks. The State of Minnesota offers state employees six weeks. Minnesota’s largest employer, Mayo Clinic, is offering two weeks and has sent the following statement regarding its furlough policy.

The Mayo Clinic offers up to 80 hours of paid parental leave to staff welcoming a child through birth or adoption. Paid parental leave is one of many types of leave and benefits available to Mayo Clinic staff as they expand their families.

Again this year, the Minnesota Department of Health released a study highlighting access, or lack of access, to leave for new mothers. A leader behind the study and MDH maternal and child health epidemiologist Dr. Mira Sheff said a key finding is that most Minnesotans don’t have access to paid leave.

“This study shows us, across all demographics, that the majority of mothers are taking unpaid leave,” Dr. Sheff said.

Here you will find information about your rights regarding pregnancy and parental leave.

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