May 4, 2022
Honorable Julia Coleman
95 University Avenue W.
Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 2101
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Senator Coleman,
Peace be with you. We write to thank you for authoring two important pieces of legislation that have advanced the effort to make paid caregiver leave a reality in Minnesota: S.F. 3885 and S.F. 4394.
Minnesota Catholic Conference supports the creation of paid caregiver leave programs. We have not supported a specific bill, but rather have urged legislators to work collaboratively with employers and worker advocacy groups to find common ground for the common good due to the acute needs of Minnesota families.
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 starting out.” Unfortunately, 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 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. And the truth is, there several ways that paid leave programs can be constructed. For example, the Paid Family Leave program in New York is an insurance program that employees pay into through paycheck deductions. 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.
Earlier this session we commended the diligence and sense of urgency that the proponents of H.F.1200 / S.F. 1205 have shown to address this essential need for workers and families. We were pleased to see the introduction of your two proposals as they provided equally reasonable alternatives for lawmakers and the public to consider. The critical debate over how to provide Minnesotans with paid time to care for themselves and loved ones is more robust thanks to the presence of S.F. 3885 and S.F. 4394.
As we enter conference committees, we hope there will be a willingness amongst stakeholders to pivot towards a middle ground proposal that would honor the reciprocal relationship between employers and employees. Thank you.
Ryan E. Hamilton, Esq
Government Relations Associate, Minnesota Catholic Conference