Defending the Dedicated: Better Supporting Minnesota’s National Guard Members
Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard.
Roughly 14,000 Minnesotans serve in the Minnesota National Guard. As part of their service, they commit one weekend a month plus an additional two weeks during the summer to the guard. To reduce cost of service, Minnesota and local governments offer public employees serving in the National Guard 15 days of paid military leave each year.
Recently some municipalities have begun requiring their employees serving in the National Guard to take all their paid military leave prior to using any unpaid leave. For state and local employees working a typical Monday through Friday week this doesn’t have any impact on their family budget.
However for police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians who work overnight or on the weekend they may be forced to use all their paid leave early in the year. This has created a situation where our public servants and National Guard service members then are forced into a financial hardship during their two weeks of active duty service.
To better support our state and local employees serving in the military, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature clarified the state law. Going forward, local governments won’t be allowed to require National Guard members to take their paid leave first. The new law allows employees to spread their paid and unpaid leave throughout the year so they don’t endure any severe financial hardship.
Simple clarifications like these are just another way Governor Dayton is working to help the women and men serving in Minnesota’s National Guard. Members of our National Guard sacrifice their time for all of us – they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their family’s financial wellbeing too.