Gov. Dayton proposes 6 weeks of paid parental leave in supplemental budget

At a Regional Worker Voice Summit, Minnesota Gov. Dayton said he'll propose in his supplemental budget 6 weeks of paid parental leave for all state employees. The summit was convened by U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.

Under his proposal, more than 35,000 state employees would be eligible. Dayton said this would save new parents nearly $6,200 in wages and allow them the time and financial flexibility to care for their children at a crucial moment of development.

Fact sheet: Dayton's proposal

Dayton said his support for parental leave comes from an understanding of the crucial nature of a bond between a parent and new child. He said he was initially leaning toward four weeks, but Lt. Gov. Smith and staffers "piled on top of me" and convinced him to recommend six weeks.

"We can do better," Perez said, backing Gov. Dayton's 6-week proposal. "We have 'Leave it to Beaver' policies on family leave."

Currently, state employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave upon the birth or adoption of their child when:

1. they work for a company with 21 or more employees;
2. they worked at least half time for 12 months; and
3. they have been with the company for at least 12 months. 

“For far too long, we have forced tens of thousands of hard-working parents to make an impossible choice: to spend time with their newborn or recently-adopted child, or earn the money they need to care for their families,” Dayton said. “Six weeks of paid parental leave should be guaranteed for all hard-working Minnesotans; not just the wealthy few. It is time for the state to lead by example. I look forward to working with the Legislature this session to implement this family-focused reform.”