Health

San Francisco Enacts Historic Paid Family Leave Law

| by Sean Kelly
A Pregnant WomanA Pregnant Woman

San Francisco enacted an historic paid family leave law, which guarantees new parents 100 percent of their income while on maternity and paternity leave from work.

The measure was unanimously approved by the city's Board of Supervisors on April 5, and gives mothers and fathers six weeks of 100 percent paid time off.

"The vast majority of workers in this country have little or no access to paid parental leave, and that needs to change," Supervisor Scott Weiner said at a news conference before the vote, The Associated Press reported.

The law will need one more formal vote by the board before its submitted for approval by Mayor Ed Lee. The unanimous vote means that the measure is veto-proof.

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Many small business owners weren't thrilled with the news, saying a mandate such as paid family leave targets them and their businesses.

"They don't necessarily have the resources, they can't absorb the increases in cost, and they feel like it's kind of relentless, it's one thing after the next," San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Vice President Dee Dee Workman told AP.

Weiner released a statement after the vote, saying the country's parental leave policies were "woefully behind" the rest of the world.

"Today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers," the statement read, USA Today reported.

"We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table. These workers are the least likely to have access to employer-provided paid parental leave and they struggle the most with taking a pay cut to stay at home and bond with their child."

Paid family leave is a major topic in the current presidential election as it gains momentum across the nation, along with a push for a $15 minimum wage. San Francisco approved a $15 wage for workers in 2014, and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California mandated such a wage statewide in early April.

Sources: AP via Los Angeles Times, USA Today / Photo credit: Pixabay

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