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Paid family leave proposal passes the MN Senate

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A proposed law that would require businesses provide up to 12-weeks of paid family leave in Minnesota passed the state's Senate Wednesday, though is unlikely to become law this year at least.

The Forum News Service reports the Senate passed the tax bill – which would see businesses with more than 20 workers have to provide partial replacement wages after a child is born or a family member has an extended illness – by a vote of 37-30.

The paid leave requirement would be funded by a tax on workers and employers, which would cost someone earning $50,000 around $45-a-year.

MPR reports all Republican Senators and 2 Democrats voted against the proposal, citing the burden it would place on struggling workers and businesses, while Senators in favor of the plan say it would allow people to spend more time with their newborn or ill family member without worrying about their income.

Sen. Katie Sieben, who proposed the measure, said in a statement: "The proposal is a big step forward for families. Currently only 13 percent of workers have access to paid family leave. Minnesotans should be able to take time away from work to care for a new baby or an elderly parent without jeopardizing their economic security.

"As the state with the largest percentage of women in the workforce, I thank my colleagues for joining me in supporting policies, like paid family leave, to promote even greater workforce participation."

MPR notes however that the bill is unlikely to land on Gov. Mark Dayton's desk anytime soon, as there is no family leave proposal moving through the House at this stage.

The Associated Press reports the tax bill passed by the Senate also includes proposals to grant college tuition tax credits, expand existing tax breaks for low income families, and exempt Minnesota United's proposed stadium in St. Paul from property taxes.

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