San Francisco becomes first US city to mandate fully paid parental leave

Apr 14, 2016

Photo credit: Tracey Nearmy/AAP

By Sam Levin

San Francisco has become the first US municipality to mandate that employers offer fully paid parental leave, and activists hope the progressive new law will pave the way for policies across the country.

The US is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity or parental leave to workers. San Francisco’s legislation, adopted on Tuesday, is an important step forward in a long campaign to bring the country up to speed with all other industrialized nations that have paid leave laws, which experts say carry tremendous health benefits for parents and children.

California is one of only five states that have some form of a paid family leave program on the books, though San Francisco’s bill – passed unanimously after supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall – is more advanced than existing US laws by mandating that businesses pay mothers and fathers their full wages during a six-week leave period.

“Everytime San Francisco adopts a local pro-worker ordinance, we’re told that it’s going to be the end of the world for businesses,” said Scott Wiener, San Francisco supervisor who sponsored the proposal. “What ends up happening is the state and sometimes even the federal government follows our lead … I’m confident other cities and states will take notice.”

Under California’s paid leave program, which was the first US law of its kind when it passed in 2002, employees are entitled to six weeks of partial pay – 55% of their salary – to take time off to care for newborns, including adopted and foster children. The paid time off is funded by employee payroll contributions.

Starting in 2017, San Francisco’s law will complement state law, mandating that employers with 50 or more workers provide the remaining 45% of employees’ wages for a six-week leave. The law will in phases extend to businesses with 20 or more employees.


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10 comments on “San Francisco becomes first US city to mandate fully paid parental leave

  • @OP – California is one of only five states that have some form of a paid family leave program on the books, though San Francisco’s bill – passed unanimously after supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall – is more advanced than existing US laws by mandating that businesses pay mothers and fathers their full wages during a six-week leave period.

    UK system below:-

    http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1753
    A pregnant employee has the right to both 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave as well as 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. To qualify for maternity leave, an employee must tell their employer by the end of the 15th weeks before the expected week of childbirth:



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  • @OP – is more advanced than existing US laws by mandating that businesses pay mothers and fathers their full wages during a six-week leave period.

    UK system:

    https://www.gov.uk/employers-maternity-pay-leave/entitlement

    Statutory Maternity Leave

    Eligible employees can take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. The first 26 weeks is known as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’, the last 26 weeks as ‘Additional Maternity Leave’.

    The earliest that leave can be taken is 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, unless the baby is born early.

    Employees must take at least 2 weeks after the birth (or 4 weeks if they’re a factory worker).

    Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

    SMP for eligible employees can be paid for up to 39 weeks, usually as follows:

    the first 6 weeks: 90% of their average weekly earnings (AWE) before tax

    the remaining 33 weeks: £139.58 or 90% of their AWE (whichever is lower)

    Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.



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  • The world is badly overpopulated. It has 7.3 billion people. It can only sustain about 0.5 billion.
    We have no business instituting measures to encourage more babies.



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  • To Roedy #3:

    I agree. The world carrying capacity is about 6.4 billion people (as long as everyone lived at the lowest level of poverty). However the world population is now at 7.2 billion and counting. By the time leaders of the world realize this, it will be too late to prevent a world wide disaster.



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  • What! Last time I checked having three or four kids is not illegal, and couples want to have more than two sometimes. You don’t punish a mother and her child by denying paid leave. Raise taxes? Great idea. That’ll work. Neither measure will work as a counter incentive. They are also cruel and immoral. What if I were the mother with that third child? One has to ask oneself that.

    The religious (indoctrinated) catholics (and others who are just plain irresponsible), who fear birth control more than financial hardship, with their seven or eight or eleven children, do need to be reigned in somehow; but even they should not be punished in this way, with no family leave for the third child, or by being threatened with higher taxes or whatever. I don’t know how this reigning is to be done, other than through education, and by removing these primitive fears – a long process. But punitive measure and threats of forced hardship are not the answer. Why not just torture them? Because that’s no different, and don’t kid yourself that it is. Educate people about this, make them aware of the importance of this issue, encourage them to have maybe one or two kids. — But this punitive approach is not what we do. We don’t punish people for having children.

    By the way, why not punish those top corporations who pay zero taxes, and give them some counter-incentives? The entire system is in fact rigged, as Sanders says, and the availability, affordability of good education for people of all incomes is one of many products or off-shoots of the rigged system / economy. And no one is talking about population, because it’s not on the agenda. (Asimov was talking about this in the 70s. No one cared except for a handful of his fans.) The conservatives don’t care about that or anything else pertaining to the environment. So punish them for keeping people down and ignorant, by exposing their corruption, their lies, scare-tactics, and greed off the face of the earth – and vote them out of office too.



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  • Roedy #3
    Apr 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    The world is badly overpopulated. It has 7.3 billion people. It can only sustain about 0.5 billion.
    We have no business instituting measures to encourage more babies.

    Paid parental leave is about properly looking after the ones we have.

    It is unlikely that both parents (Who need to have been in employment before the birth to qualify), would both continue in employment while looking after several young children! – Even though the purpose of this paid leave, is to encourage mothers to return to work after the period of time off, rather than staying at home with several children.

    Looking after pre-school children is demanding tiring work. – especially if it is done properly.

    Expecting both parents will return to work probably assumes paid for child-care, or grandparents taking over significant parental duties.



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  • Welcome to the world of the New Misanthropists, Dan.

    Rather than conceive of living sustainably as a solution to our problem (a change entirely consceivable and implementable) people would rather see people and their elimination as the problem and its solution.

    The fact that fertility rates for modern countries are already below 2 (offspring per woman) and are projected to remain so for the rest of the century and that all high fertility rates are the sole province of the poor religious countries, and that anyway there are 1.9bn kids below the age of 14 and likely to live until 2100, these decimated (sic) population figures bandied about for our consideration are simply centuries-on moonshine. Myself I don’t share the vision of a hippy bucolia of the uber rich few living sparsely in some re-invented suburb. I like our 7 million folk of IQ over 150. I like our vibrant culture and city stews.

    Modern countries with below replacement fertility rates have every right to enjoy their small families with more state understanding of a better work life balance. The dividends paid with more stable families and higher achieving offspring will repay the community handsomely. There is not the least indication that such folk will want larger families. Educated women make the sensible choices.

    It is libertarians who visit the sins of parents upon their offspring. The enlightened society helps the offspring despite the parent.



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  • to Dan #6:

    But punitive measure and threats of forced hardship are not the
    answer.

    But rewards for having children is definitely not an answer to an overpopulated world.



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  • To Dan #6:

    Last time I checked having three or four kids is not illegal, and
    couples want to have more than two sometimes.

    That is a non sequitur. No one wants to make being pregnant illegal. It is up to parents to think globally and act locally. Also it a duty for public educational institutions to teach human ecology responsibly.



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