Minnesota Set to Pass Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
This week, the Minnesota Senate approved the final version of a bill that will give workers the right to paid family and medical leave in situations where they are unable to work due to severe health conditions or caregiving responsibilities. The bill is currently awaiting the signature of Governor Tim Walz.
Once it becomes law, it is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2026, when both workers and employers will start contributing to the underlying program, and eligible employees can begin taking leave and receiving benefits.
The law applies to almost all employees in Minnesota, regardless of employer size, encompassing full-time, part-time, private sector, and state and local government employees. Certain seasonal workers are the only exemption. Self-employed individuals will have the option to opt in for coverage.
Types of Leave
The new law provides for various forms of leave, including:
Medical: For workers' own severe health conditions, including pregnancy
Caregiving: To support workers caring for a loved one with a serious health condition
Parental: To grant workers the time to bond with a new child
Safety: For certain needs when workers or their loved ones experience sexual or domestic violence
Deployment-related: To cope with the impact of a loved one's military deployment
Eligibility for Benefits
Workers must have earned at least 5.3 percent of the state average annual wage over a designated 12-month period before the commencement of leave to be eligible. As of now, workers would need to have earned about $3,500 in the base period to qualify.
Income earned across all covered Minnesota employers in the base period contributes towards the total, meaning even those who have recently changed jobs or have multiple jobs could count income from all sources. This makes eligibility for monetary benefits transferable as employees change employers.