San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Expands to Guarantee Full Pay for Even More Employees

January 1, 2018

San Francisco –  Today San Francisco’s paid parental leave ordinance, which Senator Scott Wiener authored as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, expands to cover workers who work at businesses with 20 or more employees. When the ordinance first went into effect on January 1, 2017, it only applied to businesses with 50 or more employees. Only July 1, 2017, it expanded to include businesses with 35 or more employees. As of today, it applies to businesses with 20 or more employees. 

The ordinance requires that any parent be guaranteed his or her full salary for six weeks to bond with their newborn child. Currently, the state generally provides 60-70% (depending on income) of an employee’s salary for up to six weeks. Senator Wiener’s ordinance requires that employers pay the remaining percentage of their employee’s salary during that six-week period so that new parents receive 100% of their salary.

Senator Wiener authored the ordinance, because although some parents can afford to take a 30-40% reduction in income to stay at home and bond with a new child, many cannot. The ordinance applies to both newborns and adopted children and applies to both parents. The expansion to businesses with 20 or more employees could increase the number of employees eligible for paid parental leave as high as 14% in San Francisco.

“The United States is far behind the rest of the world in guaranteeing paid parental leave to new parents,” said Senator Wiener. “We need to  catch up  and support working families. Families are healthier, children are more successful, and women have greater equality in the workforce when families have broad access to paid parental leave. As of today, our ordinance now covers even more workers, which means more parents won’t have to choose between putting food on the table and bonding with a new child. We must continue the fight for paid parental leave.”

A recent study conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley found that in the first six months of the ordinance taking effect in 2017, the number of women taking leave increased by 6% (compared with no increase in the rest of the state) and the number of men taking leave increased by 28% (compared with 3%-9% increases in the rest of the state.)  A link to the study can be found here​.

“We want all parents to have the opportunity to bond with their newborn children, so it’s great to see the ordinance is working for both new mothers and fathers,” said Senator Wiener. “In particular, fathers have traditionally taken less leave or no leave at all, and studies have shown that fathers who take parental leave early in their children’s lives are more involved in their lives later on. Moreover, when both men and women take parental leave, women are less likely to fall behind men in the workforce. As this program expands and people become more aware of it, I expect these numbers to continue to grow, which is great news for families in our city.”