In yet another recent development on the hot topic of paid family leave, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved local legislation requiring businesses to provide employees with up to 6 weeks of fully paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.  With this ordinance, San Francisco becomes the first city in the United States to offer parental leave at 100 percent of an employee’s salary.

The new ordinance intends to “supplement” the current California Paid Family Leave program, which entitles eligible employees to receive leave paid at up to 55% of their salary for up to 6 weeks to care for newborns or newly adopted children.  The state program is funded entirely by worker contributions and administered through a state insurance fund.  The San Francisco ordinance will require employers to privately fund the remaining 45% of an employee’s salary during the 6 week period.

The ordinance will go into effect on January 1, 2017 for businesses with 50 or more employees, and will gradually expand protection to businesses with 35 or more employees beginning July 2017, and finally for businesses with 20 or more employees beginning July 2018.  Employees who work 8 hours or more per week and spend at least 40 percent of their work week within San Francisco boundaries will be eligible for the leave.  New employees will become eligible after they have worked for a company for 180 days.

San Francisco’s new legislation follows just on the heels of New York’s enactment of a statewide paid family leave law, which will entitle eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of partially paid leave that can be used for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, as well as to care for a seriously ill family member, or to deal with exigencies arising from a family member being called into active military service.  The New York law will be funded entirely through employee contributions to a state insurance program, similar to the current state program in place in California.

We will be following up with additional details on this new ordinance as more guidance is made available for employers.