San Francisco will offer fully paid parental leave to all new parents working within city limits. That goes for men and women, full- and part-time employees, who have given birth to or adopted a child.
California was already one of the few states in the nation that required some type of paid parental leave. (New Jersey and Rhode Island are the other two.) The state allows workers to collect 55 percent of their pay for six weeks, with the money coming from employee-financed public disability insurance. It's better than most states offer, but it's still a pay cut.
Many high-salary California employees, such as those working at Twitter, Facebook and Google, already receive as much as 20 weeks of fully paid parental leave from their employers. Netflix, headquartered in Los Gatos, California, made headlines last year when the company announced a policy to allow unlimited parental leave for new parents for the first year.
But lawmakers found these benefits are generally not offered to the lower paid employees. And these are the folks that might actually be forced to choose between staying home and caring for their new baby and paying rent or buying groceries for the week.
To level the playing field, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in a new ordinance that would require employers to pay the remaining 45 percent of the employee's wages while they are on parental leave. This will ensure that all workers collect their normal paychecks while caring for their new babies.
The ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2017, for companies with 50 or more employees, and one year later for those with 20 or more workers.