It’s already been a groundbreaking week for leave of absence, but San Francisco’s new paid parental leave bill blazes a fresh trail with an unprecedented fully paid parental leave ordinance. The ordinance provides for 6 weeks of topped off benefits for employees who are bonding with a child during the first year after birth or adoption or foster placement of a minor child. According to the new ordinance, when a San Francisco employee receives California Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for bonding, the employer is required to supplement those benefits (currently 55% of pay, up to the maximum benefit) so the employee receives the full 100% of his or her normal weekly pay. The ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2017.
The benefit is available to San Francisco employees who began employment at least 180 days prior to the start of the leave, work at least 8 hours per week within the city and at least 40% of the weekly work hours in the city, and who are eligible to receive PFL benefits for bonding with a new child. All employers who regularly employ 50 or more employees, regardless of location, are covered by the new ordinance. Smaller employers will be phased in over the subsequent 2 years, and by January 1, 2018, all employers with 20 or more employees will be required to comply.
While the federal congress and over 15 states currently have paid family leave (which often includes bonding leave) pending in their legislatures, until New York’s sudden passage of its paid sick leave law, we hadn’t seen much progress on any of these bills. Much like employers have been doing with voluntary employer parental leave policies, municipalities are taking it upon themselves to push through these entitlements that have otherwise been waylaid. In an interview before the vote, Scott Wiener, the supervisor who brought forth the proposal, acknowledged that San Francisco lawmakers moved forward in part because change at the national level was stalled:
“Whether it’s paid parental leave, infrastructure investment, minimum wage, paid sick leave or addressing carbon emissions, we know the states have to act.”
Whether San Francisco’s initiative will be a harbinger of things to come or a legislative anomaly remains to be seen. Either way, rest assured that Reed Group has your back. We’ll keep you informed about the latest and greatest in leave law, and we offer solutions to address your needs, from educational resources to fully managed leave administration. Need help with your company’s leaves? Give us a call at 800-347-7443.