San Francisco Employers Must Provide Paid Parental Leave to Employees

San Francisco employers with twenty or more employees should review their parental leave policies in light of the new city ordinance, which requires these employers to cover 45% of the cost of parental leave for up to six weeks (up to $924 per week under the 2016 supplemental compensation rate). The ordinance is intended to provide wage supplementation for employees who otherwise receive 55% wage replacement for up to six weeks through the California Paid Family Leave program. The ordinance covers all employees (full-time, part-time, and temporary) (1) who began employment at least 180 days prior to the start of the leave period, (2) who work at least eight hours per week for the employer within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, (3) at least 40% of whose total weekly hours worked for the employer are within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, and (4) who are eligible to receive state paid family leave compensation for the purpose of bonding with a new child. The ordinance will phase in gradually based on employer size – January 1, 2017 (50 or more employees), July 1, 2017 (35 or more employees), and January 1, 2018 (20 or more employees).

New York State Paid Family Leave Law Enacted and Effective in 2018

In addition to San Francisco, employers with New York operations should begin thinking about their parental leave policies in light of a new law providing up to twelve weeks of partially paid family leave. The leave system will be financed by small paycheck deductions from employees; no employer contributions are required. Like the San Francisco ordinance, the New York state law will be phased in gradually. Beginning in 2018, workers will get up to eight weeks of leave per year and 50% of their average weekly wage (capped at 50% of the statewide average weekly wage). The benefit will eventually increase – in 2021, workers will receive up to twelve weeks of leave per year and 67% of the worker’s average weekly wage (capped at 67% of the statewide average weekly wage). Workers will be eligible for benefits after six months of service with their employer. The law also provides job protections, entitling an employee who returns from leave to be restored to the same or a comparable position, and requires that employers maintain existing health benefits for employees while they are on leave.

DOL and DFEH Issue New Workplace Posters

Companies should check to ensure that they have the most updated versions of required employment posters posted in their workplaces. For example, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an updated Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) notice for employers to post at their workplaces. The DOL also published a helpful guide for employers about how to administer and comply with the FMLA. In addition, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued a new notice regarding the rights of pregnant employees under California law.