ICYMI: Senator Erin Oban Talks Paid Family Leave with Joel Heitkamp

July 23rd, 2019

 ICYMI: Senator Erin Oban Talks Paid Family Leave with Joel Heitkamp

(BISMARCK, ND) – There has been a lot of conversation regarding paid family leave, who gets it, who doesn’t, and why? Senator Erin Oban spoke with Joel Heitkamp of News and Views yesterday about the importance of this legislation.

Key Points

  • Senator Erin Oban was a co-sponsor of paid family leave legislation that would have given North Dakota an edge in an increasingly competitive job market. Given the makeup of the North Dakota House, Senator Oban was not surprised that the bill was voted down. She notes that one of the cosponsors, Emily O’Brien (R-Grand Forks) ended up voting against it. Two months later when O’Brien had her baby, she received a full paid leave.
  • After that defeat, Oban introduced a study just so they could have a longer conversation to try to iron out the concerns and questions over how to best implement the program. When the resolution came to the Senate floor there was no debate, and it was handily defeated. Oban notes that this would not have been a government program, but rather something that both the employer and employee would pay into.
  • Oban shared a personal experience, noting that several years ago, her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she also adopted a newborn. Both events were occasions she needed time off for, and she noted that thousands of North Dakotans have had similar experiences. She knows it would have been hypocritical to deny paid time off for these events to her constituents.
  • Recalling her 2017 canvassing efforts, Senator Oban shared that she talked to many young families who didn’t want to talk about national issues – they wanted to talk about issues that directly affected their families. The families shared their frustration that they felt as if they had to make a decision on whether or not to have kids based on if they would have to take time off work, and if they could afford to do that.

Listen to the entire interview here