SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco approved a measure Tuesday making it the first place in the United States to require businesses to provide fully paid leave for new parents.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the measure after supporters said six weeks of fully paid leave is needed because too many families can’t afford to take time off after a child is born or adopted.
Small business owners countered that it’s the latest in a long list of city mandates, including paid sick leave and health coverage, that unfairly target them.
The U.S. lags other countries in providing parental leave. Federal law grants workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
The state of California currently allows workers to receive 55 percent of their pay for up to six weeks to bond with a new child. The money comes from a state insurance program funded by workers. The new San Francisco measure requires employers with at least 20 employees to make up the rest.
Supervisor Scott Wiener, who pushed for paid leave, has said the benefit is another step toward addressing income inequality, much like the $15 hourly minimum wage legislation that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday.
“The vast majority of workers in this country have little or no access to paid parental leave, and that needs to change,” he said at a news conference.
Businesses with at least 50 employees must comply starting in January 2017. Businesses with at least 20 employees have until January 2018 to comply.