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Wed Nov 20, 2019, 04:21 AM

Duluth businesses, politicians call on state to provide paid family, medical leave

As Duluth prepares to require local employers to provide workers with access to up to a week of paid time off to deal with illnesses or other family emergencies starting in January, a number of small-business owners, including Joel Vikre, co-founder of Vikre Distillery, called on the state of Minnesota to take what he called "the next step" establishing a paid family and medical leave benefit for people who are unable to work for an extended period of time.

"Without an educated, healthy and stable workforce, our business wouldn't exist. That's why we supported earned sick and safe time and implemented our own policy in advance of that law. It is working, and it has provided our staff with security and safety, because people get sick, people's kids get sick and things go wrong," Vikre said.

The benefits of providing increased job security speak for themselves, according to Vikre.

"As an employer, we get healthier, more committed and less stressed staff who are more able to do their work when ESST is there, in case something happens. That said, it is limited. Five days will cover a kid with the flu or the chicken pox, but not cancer and not having a baby. Also, it falls entirely on us, as a business," he said.

Read more: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4778151-Duluth-businesses-politicians-call-on-state-to-provide-paid-family-medical-leave

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