San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to approve time off of work with full pay for new parents. As background, in 2004, California became the first state in the U.S. to offer paid parental benefits under the California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program. The program, which is funded by employees through payroll deductions, allows employees to receive up to 55% of their wages for up to six weeks to care for newborns or newly adopted children.
San Francisco’s new law, which was passed yesterday by unanimous vote of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, will require employers with at least 20 employees to cover the 45% of employees’ wages not already covered by the PFL program. The ordinance requires another formal vote by the board and approval by San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, but legislators described these steps as formalities due to the unanimous vote of the Board, and the Mayor indicated he will approve it.
Once approved, the law will go into effect in January 2017 for businesses with 50 or more employees. Companies with 35 to 49 employees must comply with the law beginning in July 2017, and employers with 20 to 34 employees will have until 2018. The law applies to parents of both genders and to full and part employees. Employees must have been employed with the company for 180 days to qualify for the program.