San Francisco has long been a pioneer of social change. Just this month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors added to its long history of pushing for a stronger community with its approval of six weeks of fully-paid leave for all new parents. This is the first such city-wide legislation to be passed in the country, and it’s expected for California’s state boards to quickly follow after San Francisco’s lead.
Under this new legislation, all new parents, both birth parents and foster care parents, will be entitled to the benefit as long as they meet the following conditions: Have been employed by a single employer for a minimum of 180 days, work a minimum of eight hours per week within the county or city of San Francisco, spend a minimum of 40 percent of their working hours within the county or city of San Francisco, and have been proven eligible to receive paid family leave from the State of California through the California Paid Family Leave for the express purpose for bonding with a new child or teenager. This new law requires the parent’s employer to meet 100 percent of the his or her normal gross weekly pay following assistance from the California Paid Family Leave law.
California’s Paid Family Leave law was passed in 2002 and was the first state-wide law of its kind. With its passing, all employees who contribute to the State Disability Insurance fund are eligible to receive up to 55 percent of their pay for six weeks after a newborn’s birth, the signing of adoption papers for a child, the placement of a child into foster care, or to take in care for a seriously ill family member.
Current California Government Jerry Brown has been a strong proponent of several similar pro-worker initiatives. On April 11, he signed into law new legislation to increase the amount of paid leave from 55 percent of their pay to either 60 percent or 70 percent (depending upon the employee’s income). This legislation also included provisions to progressively raise the state’s mandated minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2022. In tandem with these efforts, the leader of California’s Senate is pushing to provide tax-free retirement savings plans for the more than 7.5 million workers living and working in the state without employer-provided retirement plans.
According to The New York Times, lawmakers in San Francisco and California felt that there’s no other way to push for worker rights initiatives for new birth, adoption, and foster care parents than to introduce such local bill as there is currently no political climate for real change occurring on the federal level.
“Whether it’s paid parental leave, infrastructural investment, minimum wage, paid sick leave or addressing carbon emissions, we know the states have to act,” said Scott Wiener, the supervisor who was the first to introduce the measure.