San Francisco becomes first city to approve fully paid parental leave

San Francisco’s board of supervisors have unanimously approved a new legislation that will now enable new mothers and fathers to receive fully paid and protected parental leave. This legislation has made San Francisco the first city in the United States that will require the employers to provide six weeks of fully paid leave for the new parents. This law would cover the new born as well as the children taken up in adoption.

Currently, California’s disability insurance program allows its employees for family leave and they receive up to 55 percent of their regular wages for six weeks. San Francisco’s new law will require employers to pay the remaining 45 percent of an employee’s wages while the employee is on parental leave. However, the legislation is currently pending in California to increase the state contribution for partial pay. If an approval is sought for the increase, employers would be then required to pay less under the San Francisco law. However, the employees may be required to sue up to two weeks of vacation before they avail paid leave and will then be required to repay the paid leave benefit if they leave the employment within 90 days of returning from leave.

The San Francisco law will apply to business having 20 or more employees. The employees that will be covered include those who’ve worked for an employer a minimum of 180 days and a minimum of 8 hours per week to be eligible, including part-time or temporary employees. Additionally, as per the San Francisco law, termination or otherwise discrimination to taking of adverse employment action against an employee in retaliation for exercising of their rights is illegal.

The new law will be phased in and employers with 50 or more employees are required to comply from January 1, 2017 and employers having 20 to 50 employees must comply by July 1, 2017. However, for the new law to go into effect, it still requires a second vote by the board of supervisors which is scheduled in the second week of April 2016 and an approval by the city’s Mayor. But these approvals are just seen as formalities in light of the unanimous vote and general support the bill has received.

Although, San Francisco’s law may be the first one to require fully paid parental leaves but it joins the other growing number of jurisdictions, including New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California that require at least partial pay for parental leave. Presently, California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island offer six weeks per year with partial pay and Rhode Island provides for four weeks with partial pay. In New York, a day before San Francisco’s law received assent, the new legislation requiring up to 12 weeks of partial pay was signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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