Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative Paul Thissen

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100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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Posted: Feb 19 2015 2:43PM
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Press/News Releases

House and Senate DFL Leaders Unveil Working Parents Act

Legislative package would restore balance and provide greater economic security for millions of Minnesotans

Saint Paul, Minnesota –House DFL Leader Paul Thissen, Senate President Sandy Pappas, and several DFL legislators unveiled the Working Parents Act today, a legislative package aimed at providing greater opportunity and economic security to millions of Minnesotans.

The package responds to the real challenges facing working parents and all Minnesotans in an economy that is tilted against them. As an example, the number of dual-income families and single working parents has grown significantly in Minnesota, yet workplace policies haven’t kept up, often putting working parents in the position of caring for a loved one or forgoing a paycheck. House DFL Leader Paul Thissen said responding to these core challenges of work and family is the best way Minnesota can restore balance for Minnesota parents who are seeking economic security and a better life.

“The Working Parents Act is the best way that this legislature can have a direct impact on the lives and economic security of Minnesota families who are working hard to provide and care for themselves and their families,” said House DFL Leader Paul Thissen. “It’s time to update Minnesota’s workplace policies and restore balance for Minnesota parents, families and workers.”

“We need to be realistic and acknowledge that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control – like falling ill or having to care for a sick family member,” said Sen. Pappas. “That’s why earned sick and safe leave is important. Employees should have peace of mind that in the event of an illness, their jobs will not be jeopardized and their paychecks will not be compromised.”

The Working Parents Act includes five legislative proposals:

Earned Sick and Safe Time: Over 1 million working Minnesotans lack access to paid sick time. The Working Parents Act would guarantee Minnesota workers have access to earned sick and safe time to care for themselves, a sick child, or a loved one, or to seek services due to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

Paid Family Leave: Only 13% of Minnesotans have access to paid family leave, meaning workers are often forced to choose between their families and their jobs. The Working Parents Act would create an insurance program to provide all Minnesota employees with a percentage of their wages for up to 6 weeks so they can afford to take time off to bond with a new child, care for an elder or seriously-ill family member, or deal with pregnancy-related health concerns.

Putting a Stop to Wage Theft: Wage theft occurs when workers who are denied overtime pay, refused pay for hours worked, or paid less than the minimum wage. The Working Parents Act would crack down on wage theft by increasing penalties for wage theft, extending the statute of limitations on all wage theft to 6 years, and protecting workers from employer retaliation.

Scheduling Fairness and Flexibility: Many Minnesota workers lack a predictable work schedule which can affect economic security and stability for families. The Working Parents Act would ensure more predictability in scheduling for workers, limit last-minute or on-call shifts, and protect workers from employer retaliation.

Tip Fairness for Servers: Several Minnesota restaurants in recent years have deducted the cost of credit and debit card transaction fees from servers’ tips. The Working Parents Act would prohibit businesses from deducting credit card processing fees from tips that are earned by servers and make sure that tips given by a customer go into the pockets of hardworking Minnesotans.

“Our families have the same responsibilities to care for each other that they have always had, but our economy today requires most parents to work, often long hours or multiple jobs,” said Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley). “Our workplace policies have not kept up with the way we live and work today, and the Working Parent Act will make a real difference in the lives of Minnesota families.”

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