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Working Parents Act

The Working Parents Act (HF1093) 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. 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 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.

Women's Economic Security Act

Minnesota’s economy is headed in the right direction, but not everyone is sharing in the gains. And when we dig underneath the first layer of economic challenges facing Minnesotans, we find that the people struggling to stay in or step into the middle class are disproportionately women. With the passage of the Women’s Economic Security Act, we're breaking down barriers to economic progress so that women -- and all Minnesotans - have a fair opportunity to succeed.

Pay equity and wages:

Women make up 50% of Minnesota’s workforce, but 58% of workers who are paid $9.50 or less. And on average, women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. This law helps to close the gender pay gap by requiring private businesses that contract with the state to report on pay equity within their workforce.

Job segregation:

Despite the fact that women are earning a majority of post-secondary degrees, they are still clustered in low-wage job sectors. This law supports and encourages women in non-traditional, high-wage jobs and support growth for women-owned small businesses.

Work-life balance:

Women remain the primary caregiver for children, and for ailing relatives or parent. Three out of four Minnesotans who provide 20+ hours per week of regular unpaid care to a friend or family member are women. But many jobs do not provide flexibility or paid leave. The Women’s Economic Security Act expands access to high-quality, affordable childcare; allows paid family and sick leave for working families, and makes unpaid leave under the Minnesota Parental Leave Act available to more new moms and dads.

View a summary of WESA as signed by Gov. Dayton


Raised the Minimum Wage

Minnesota’s $6.15 per hour minimum wage was among the lowest in the nation. We've improved middle class prosperity by increasing the wage to $9.50 per hour by 2016. It is simply wrong for hardworking Minnesotans putting in 40 hours a week to earn less than poverty wages. Raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour will raise the wages of 350,000 people in our state, 80% of whom are over 20 – supporting themselves and their families. And economists are clear that raising the wage will boost Minnesota’s economy since those families will spend their increased earnings on necessities, recirculating those dollars in our communities.

DFL & GOP Leaders Agree: It's Time to Make Work Pay


Building a Greater Minnesota

While Minnesota’s economy is continuing grow at a good pace, there are areas of the state where the recovery is taking hold more slowly. Making sure our economic recovery is broad-based serves the interests of everyone in Minnesota. To accomplish that, the legislature has focused on a number of actions:

Agriculture Market Value Homestead Credit:

Increasing agricultural land values have resulted in higher property taxes on farmers. This proposal built off our efforts last session to restore the Homestead Credit by expanding the Ag Market Value Credit. The supplemental credit has provided immediate property tax relief to farmers on around 90,000 homestead farms. The average family farmer has seen $460 in property tax relief.

Repeal the Sales Tax on Farm Equipment Repair:

The Legislature passed a balanced budget and we have a budget surplus for the first time since the Great Recession. The repeal of the farm equipment repair sales tax passed with bipartisan support and has provided tax relief to farmers who dealt with challenging weather that affected crops in 2013. 

Investing in infrastructure:

We've passed a smart and targeted bonding bill that places a high priority on infrastructure needs throughout Greater Minnesota, including transportation, waste-water and the revitalization of higher education facilities. These investments will bolster regional economic development and the speed of commerce in Greater Minnesota.

Broadband Expansion:

We have improved Greater Minnesota businesses’ ability to compete in the 21st century economy by expanding access to high-speed Internet. The broadband law provides $20 million in grants to fund expansion of fiber-optic broadband infrastructure in underserved regions of the state, authorizes local governments to issue bonds for broadband infrastructure development, and removes unnecessary regulatory barriers that hold back broadband development.

Growing Greater Minnesota Businesses:

Helping small business and innovative manufacturing across the state is essential. We've expanded the micro-lending programs at the state’s six Initiative Foundations. Since 1985, the six Initiative Foundations have leveraged more than $1 billion and created or retained more than 40,000 jobs. This proposal will increase funding by over $2.8 million, with $475,000 going to each of the six Initiative Foundations located in Greater Minnesota. We've also provided innovation vouchers to help small and mid-sized manufacturers to purchase expertise and services from universities, research institutions, and consulting firms that can help them improve their products, implement new technologies, and achieve growth.