San Francisco Will Become First US City With Fully Paid Parental Leave
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor
April 15, 2016
San Francisco will become the first US city to require employers to offer six weeks of fully paid parental leave to new parents. The city's Board of Supervisors passed the groundbreaking ordinance unanimously, which provides covered employees with the opportunity to bond with a child during the first year after the birth of the child or after placement of the child through foster care or adoption. The ordinance will apply to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
The new law covers full-time and part-time employees who work in the city at least eight hours per week, who spend 40% of their work week within city limits and have been employed by the employer for at least 180 days prior to the start of the leave period.
California already is one of the few states to offer partially paid family leave, with workers eligible to receive 55% of their pay for six weeks via employee-financed public disability insurance. The San Francisco ordinance fills in the gap with its mandate of full pay for new parents during that time period. Under the ordinance, employers are responsible for the remaining 45% of an employee's wages.
San Francisco's law will be phased in to give smaller employers extra time to comply with the following effective dates:
- January 1, 2017 - employers with 50 or more employees;
- July 1, 2017 - employers with 35 or more employees; and
- January 1, 2018 - employers with 20 or more employees.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed an expansion of the state's paid leave law on the heels of the San Francisco ordinance. The measure Brown signed on April 11 will increase the pay employees can receive to 60% of their wages, starting in 2018. It also creates a new classification that will enable low-income workers to receive 70% of their pay.
Meanwhile, New York state has passed a comprehensive law that will establish 12 weeks of paid family leave. The New York paid family leave law will be funded through employee payroll deductions so there will be no direct costs for employers. New Jersey and Rhode Island also mandate partially paid family leave through employee payroll deductions.