San Francisco Just Mandated Fully Paid Family Leave for All New Parents

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78254512Go San Francisco! San Francisco is racing New York to the title of best parental benefits in the nation, and this is a good race to be running.

On Monday, New York officially mandated 12 weeks of paid family leave for new parents regardless of gender, and for people who might need time off to care for a seriously ill loved one. (Governor Cuomo has said that he will always regret not having taken more time to be with his father while he was dying, which he could have done, and that part of the motivation behind this bill was making it so that people who otherwise could not afford to take that time would be able to do so.) It goes into effect in 2018 and will ramp-up over time to give the full benefits to families having or adopting children in 2021. The New York plan will eventually pay 2/3 of a person’s salary for the leave period, which will be funded on an insurance basis by employees.

San Francisco just announced its own plan, which is equally astounding. According to the New York Times, on Tuesday, San Francisco approved a mandatory six weeks of fully paid parental leave for all new parents, regardless of gender or how their children enter their families. California already is one of the few states that mandates paid family leave–employees in California are eligible to receive 55 percent of their pay for six weeks while on leave. And starting in January, San Francisco residents who work for employers with more than 50 employees will be eligible for six weeks at their full rate of pay as long as they have been employed for 180 days. A year from January, that will also apply to people whose employers have 20 or more employees.

By global standards, six weeks of paid leave seems pretty shrimpy, especially considering how long it takes for a person to physically heal from childbirth, especially for a person who had complications or a C-section. But it’s a lot for people from the US, which only actually mandates 12 weeks of unpaid leave. San Francisco is the first city to mandate fully paid leave at all, even if it’s just for a month and a half.