San Francisco became the first U.S. city to set six weeks of fully paid parental leave.
The law requires employers to grant six-weeks of paid leave for both fathers and mothers, with the 45 percent difference being paid by employers. The law was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
“Our country’s parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world, and today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener in a statement.
“We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table.” Said the bill’s author, Supervisor Scott Wiener
The ordinance was met with mixed reaction.
“It’s already a struggle in San Francisco because there’s so many mandates placed on businesses and the city doesn’t differentiate between small and big business,” said Dee Dee Workman, the chamber’s vice president of public policy
“We’re stuck in a position. If we don’t support it, you’re the bad guys,” said Henry Karnilowicz,, who is the president of the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations
The ordinance would require businesses with more than 20 employees to plug that gap by paying the remaining 45% of their employees’ wages. California already requires that employees receive 55% of their wages for up to six weeks of paid family leave.
The ordinance goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017, for companies with more than 35 employees, and a year later for those with 20 or more workers. New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island have also enacted laws requiring paid leave for new parents.