Think Babies Michigan Adopts Paid Family & Medical Leave as a Policy Priority in Alignment with Governor’s Announcement 

At its most recent meeting on September 11, the Think Babies Michigan Coalition’s Executive Committee added the creation of a state Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program to its list of policy priorities. This decision follows Governor Whitmer’s August 30 announcement that this fall, her administration will be advocating  for statewide PFML  for working Michiganders and their families.  Earlier in her administration, Governor Whitmer established a policy of up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for state employees. This new proposal would extend paid leave to workers outside state government. Michigan legislators are currently considering Senate Bill 332, which, if passed, would create a PFML  program similar in design to one recently adopted in Minnesota. SB 332 was introduced by Senator Geiss in May and referred to the Housing and Human Services Committee. 

A robust body of research highlights the positive impacts of paid parental leave policies on family economic security and maternal and child health.  

Some effects of paid parental leave policies include:

  • Lower prenatal stress levels
  • Fewer infant hospitalizations
  • Lower risk of re-hospitalization after birth
  • Increased parental involvement
  • Positive maternal health outcomes such as reduced rates of perinatal maternal depression, increased exercise, lower blood pressure, and lower pain levels.

The Governor argued the need for extending paid leave for all workers by stating, 

“Surveys show paid leave is one of the top three policies people prioritize when considering where to relocate. A majority of adults who plan to move in the next two years would be more likely to go somewhere with it. This is priority for all workers, but it’s especially true for women, who make up half our workforce and often bear the brunt of caretaking responsibilities.” 

What is Paid Family and Medical Leave?  A policy that enables workers to receive compensation when they take extended time off work for qualifying reasons. A similar policy is currently being enacted in Minnesota and will go into effect in January 2026. Minnesota’s plan includes a guarantee of paid medical leave for workers to address their own serious health concerns that prevents them from working and paid family leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, or for parents with a new baby or child in their family.  Each working Minnesotan will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of medical or family leave for a single event, or up to 20 weeks of combined leave each year for more than one qualifying event.  In Minnesota the payments come to employees directly from the state once their medical provider has certified the request. Funding to pay for the program comes from a payroll deduction with costs shared by employees and their employers.  

Currently, only one in four U.S. workers have access to paid family leave. Just 13 states have passed mandatory paid family leave policies.  Eight of these policies are currently in effect and six others, including Minnesota’s, will be implemented in the next two to three years.

Additional Resources:

Think Babies Michigan PFML Fact Sheet

Child Trends Paid Family Leave Brief