St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) -- Governor Mark Dayton has unveiled a proposal that would provide up to six weeks of paid parental leave to state employees.

About 35,000 state employees would be eligible for the benefit, but the governor says it’s estimated that only about 500 each year would actually use the benefit at a cost to the state of around $6 million.

“For far too long, we have forced tens of thousands of hard-working parents to make an impossible choice: to spend time with their newborn or recently-adopted child, or earn the money they need to care for their families,” said Governor Dayton. “Six weeks of paid parental leave should be guaranteed for all hard-working Minnesotans; not just the wealthy few. It is time for the state to lead by example. I look forward to working with the Legislature this session to implement this family-focused reform.”

The benefit would be limited to the birth or adoption of a child, but Dayton says he supports a future expansion of the benefit to include caring for a sick family member.

The plan was developed by a working group that consisted of representatives of the major public employee unions and several state agencies.