Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law a strong state paid family and medical leave law, which follows the signing earlier in the week of a groundbreaking, robust new paid sick time program. The state is living up to its North Star nickname as the first state in the Midwest—and the thirteenth state in the country, including Washington, D.C.—to enact a comprehensive paid family and medical leave insurance program, setting an excellent standard for other states by extending the critical right to care for oneself and one’s loved ones without risking one’s economic security to workers across the state.
Under the new program, starting January 1, 2026, most workers in the state will be able to take up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave for their own serious health condition; to bond with a child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement for foster care; to care for a family member with a serious health condition; to address certain military family needs; or for safety leave to address certain needs arising from domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault. Minnesota’s paid family and medical leave program will also honor all family bonds by allowing workers to take paid leave to care for all of their closest family members, regardless of legal or biological relation. Additionally, self-employed workers can opt into the program. Workers and employers will split the cost of the program down the middle, which will initially be set at just 0.7% of wages.
We are heartened to see tremendous progress at the state level for workers caring for themselves and their loved ones in Minnesota, and congratulate our partners at ISAIAH and the Children’s Defense Fund, who have been working for years to lay the groundwork for these supportive policies. We have been honored in recent years to work with stakeholders in Minnesota to provide technical policy and legal support around paid leave, and are thrilled that the State is now a leader on paid leave. A Better Balance remains committed to working with partners in every corner of the country to get this overwhelmingly popular policy enacted as we continue fighting for paid leave for all.