Fresh on the heels of California's minimum wage hike, San Francisco is setting yet another precedent today, as lawmakers approved a measure mandating six weeks of paid parental leave to new mothers and fathers. That includes same sex couples, and anyone who either bears or adopts a child.
How does it work?
1. Previously, employees were eligible to receive 55 percent of their salary for up to six weeks, as part of the state's Paid Family Leave program.
2. Now, employers will be responsible for making up the difference, paying 45 percent of an employees salary for that same time period.
3. The stipulations apply to businesses with more than 20 employees, who've worked for that employer for at least 180 days and for at least eight hours per week.
4. Employee must repay the benefit if they leave within 90 days of returning from leave.
5. Employees may be required to use up all vacation days before assuming paid leave.
6. The new rules are effective January 1, 2017 for companies with more than 50 employees; companies with 20 or more will make the change in 2018.
7. The amount employers pay could change, based on what the state is willing to cough up. A bill has already passed the legislature that would boost what the state pays to 70 percent, bringing down employer obligations to 30 percent of an employees salary.
Though a big step for American-kind, it's a small step globally— the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries listed by the International Labor Organization that do not provide some kind of paid parental leave. Only New York has come close so far, after New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a minimum of 12 weeks leave, with the state providing up to 50 percent of workers' salary. However Silicon Valley's already putting the rest of the country to shame, with companies like Netflix (unlimited!) and Twitter (20 weeks!) offering ample amounts of paid leave to their employees.
In San Francisco, however, restaurateurs and other small business owners are already feeling the crunch of doing business in the city, with a rising minimum wage (which will leap from $12.25 to $13 per hour this July), mandatory healthcare contributions, high rents, and permitting nightmares. On the flip side, the measure will allow parents to spend valuable time with their babies when they might not otherwise be able to afford the time off.