If you count yourself as one of many new parents that begrudgingly went back to work early after having a baby because your employer does not pay for parental leave, then you will be happy to hear some news coming out of California. San Francisco recently approved a measure that will require businesses to pay parents in full for a 6 week parental leave.
Mashable reports about the first place in the country that is requiring employers compensate new parents (both moms and dads) for time off after having a baby. In the past, laws have been passed requiring businesses to provide up to 12 weeks in unpaid leave and states like New York, New Jersey, California and Rhode Island have begun to require employers to shell out partial payment to new parents. But San Francisco is the very first to require parents be compensated in full for a total of six weeks. The new law will only pertain to companies with 20 or more employees.
Though many are rejoicing over the news, others are worried that small businesses won’t be able to handle the extra costs. Vice president of public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce DeeDee Workman explains how small businesses may have trouble coming up with the funds on top of having to deal with new paid sick leave laws and health coverage requirements. Workman says of small 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.”
In order to give smaller companies extra time to put the parental leave program into place, the measure won’t require businesses with 35 to 49 workers to start offering the paid leave until July of 2017. And businesses with 20 - 34 workers will have until January of 2018 to comply.
What do you think of the new measure in San Francisco that will require businesses to offer employees paid parental leave?
Do you think more states should consider making similar laws?
I feel like it's a shame that in every other developed country in the world fully paid maternity leave is offered and considered the right of all people, yet in America we are debating this issue as though there isn't a clear RIGHT and WRONG answer! I think it is essential for the federal government to step up take a pro-active position on this issue to encourage states to look for solutions that allow for fully-paid leave to become a reality in years to come. I think that places like San Fransisco who are first to implement this law will set an example for the rest of the country and prove that the economy can flourish and small businesses can survive while complying with the law and providing paid leave to new parents.