Fully Paid Family Leave Now Mandated in San Francisco

In a move sure to make San Francisco more attractive to job searchers and employees with families, San Francisco approved a new ordinance guaranteeing fully paid family leave for all workers with new children, making it the first city in the entire United States to implement such a policy.

The new ordinance mandates employers with at least 20 staff members to pay employees with new children 45% of their monthly salaries for the next 6 months, beginning in January 2018. Meanwhile, California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) insurance program, which took effect in 2004, will cover the remaining 55% of new parents’ salaries.

Answer to Lack of Family Paid Leave Benefits

Scott Wiener, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing District 8, and one of the ordinance’s co-sponsors, said the new policy was a response to the dire need of employees for paid family leave. “It is surprising and troubling that for a very significant portion of people in our country, people can have or adopt a baby today and have to go back to work tomorrow,” he said.

Indeed, only 13% of all employees in the United States are given paid family leave by their employers. Moreover, the United States is the only developed nation with no paid family leave requirements for new parents. Still, there are some bright spots. California, along with New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island has implemented some semblance of paid family leave program for new parents.

Wiener hopes the day will come when the federal government steps up and pushes legislation mandating paid family leave at the national level. “For now we’ll have to do what we’ve always done and that’s lead,” he said.

Small Business Owners Voice Concerns

Naturally, small businesses are hard pressed to offer paid family leave to new parents due to budget constraints. In light of these concerns, Supervisor Aaron Peskin proposed implementing the new ordinance in the following stages:

  • First, to organizations with 50 or more employees in January 1, 2017
  • Second, to organizations with 35 employees on July 1, 2017
  • Third, to organizations with at least 20 workers on January 1, 2018

According to Eric Mar, District 1 Supervisor, implementing the law in stages all the way to 2018 makes sense as its gives small to medium enterprises (SMEs) more time to prepare and resolve any management issues they might have.

What Happens if Employers Deny Paid Family Leave?

Employees who are new parents and have been denied parental leave are encouraged to file a complaint with San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. Wiener says that if the city’s labor agency can’t force a resolution, employees can take legal action through the courts.

If you would like to discuss your family law matter with an attorney, contact the  Lyttle Law Firm,Visit our website, or call our offices at 512-215-5225 to schedule a consult.