San Francisco has just given the employees of its resident companies quite the baby shower gift. On April 5, 2016, San Francisco passed its Paid Parental Leave law. The local ordinance will leverage off of the California Paid Family Leave law passed in 2004, which allows employees to take time off to bond with a newborn baby, newly adopted child, or newly placed foster child. California Paid Family Leave currently entitles workers to receive 55 percent of their pay for up to six weeks through payments made by the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) fund, a fund financed by the payroll contributions of workers. San Francisco will now require private employers to make up the remaining 45 percent of the parent’s full pay to ensure they receive 100 percent of their normal wages over the six weeks’ leave period.
Paid parental leave has become a hot topic in U.S. employment law over the past few years, as evidenced by New York’s approval of parental leave legislation just last month. San Francisco’s law gives additional volume to the national conversation by passing a measure that requires employers to provide six weeks of fully paid parental leave for mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples, to spend time at home with their newborns.
Employees, both mothers and fathers, who have been employed for at least 180 days, work as least eight hours a week, and spend at least 40 percent of their workweek in San Francisco, qualify for this benefit. The six weeks off can be taken at any time during the newborn’s first year or the first year following placement of an adopted or foster child.