Media Contact

Janna Farley,

March 8, 2021

When many North Dakota workers are faced with the unexpected illness of a family member or require time off to care for a newborn, they usually have two choices: keep working and receive a paycheck or provide essential care to an infant or ill loved one.

House Bill 1441 would provide for a study to assess a third option: creating a paid family leave program in North Dakota.

The ACLU of North Dakota supports House Bill 1441. While many people who take family or medical leave to care for a newborn or family members with serious illnesses or injuries, the accessibility of paid leave is unequal. The vast majority of low-wage workers do not have paid leave through their jobs while high-income individuals often do. This disparity can exacerbate systemic issues, from racism to sexism to the marginalization of formerly incarcerated people.

“It’s important to study this critical issue and begin to find ways that will help families and businesses alike get through a serious health event or the birth of a child without having to leave their job or lose their employees,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns director. “A sensible paid family leave program will help North Dakota businesses recruit and keep talented and hard-working employees and would be a momentous civil rights victory North Dakota.”

House Bill 1441 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee this morning. The ACLU of North Dakota provided written testimony in support of the bill (see attached).

About the ACLU of North Dakota

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.