In a groundbreaking move, San Francisco has passed a law requiring fully paid parental leave for a huge number of workers.
As the New York Times explains, the state of California currently provides six weeks of leave with 55 percent pay—much more than most Americans are guaranteed—“paid for by employee-financed public disability insurance.” The San Francisco law will require businesses with more than 20 employees to cover the rest, and anybody who’s been at their job at least 180 days can benefit. That’s both moms and dads, including adoptive parents.
The move puts San Francisco out ahead of basically everywhere in America on the issue of paid parental leave. New York City recently announced six weeks of paid parental leave—specifically for public employees. Generous leave packages are becoming a must among tech companies fighting for skilled recruits, with Twitter, Etsy, and Spotify all having announced new-and-improved policies, but not everybody works for a tech company.
And that’s exactly why San Francisco did it:
Scott Wiener, the supervisor who introduced the measure, said that San Francisco lawmakers had chosen to take up the issue partly because there was little hope of change at the national level.
“Whether it’s paid parental leave, infrastructure investment, minimum wage, paid sick leave or addressing carbon emissions, we know the states have to act,” Mr. Wiener said in an interview before the vote.
But the AP notes the additional context to this move: San Francisco is becoming impossibly unaffordable for people who don’t already work in those lucrative tech jobs. The city also approved a $15/hour minimum wage in 2014, as well.