San Francisco has set a precedent by becoming the first city in the United States to offer full paid leave for new parents. The decision to require employers to give full paid family leave was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors. The paid family leave will be for a total of six weeks. Supervisor Scott Wiener commented on the progressive decision.
“The vast majority of workers in this country have little or no access to paid parental leave, and that needs to change.”
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) April 7, 2016
Some businesses in San Francisco are fighting back, claiming that this is another mandate that is targeting their business unfairly. Recently, California passed a law that would see the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. Many small businesses claim that they will not be able to pay their current staff that much money. They fear that the raising of the minimum wage will force them out of business. These small businesses have also been vocal about fighting against mandatory paid sick leave and the mandate of providing their employees with health insurance.
Dee Dee Workman, the vice president of public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, commented on the struggles that small businesses are facing by having to offer these new mandated benefits.
“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.”
Paid family leave is not a concept new to San Francisco or the United States. It is an issue that has been gaining momentum in a similar fashion as the movement to increase the minimum wage. Many people feel that the United States should make paid family leave a law on the federal level. Out of all the developed nations in the world, the United States is the only one to not offer this benefit. The current law ensures that 12-weeks of unpaid leave is granted to new parents. Just because it is not a federal law does not mean that some businesses don’t see the benefit in offering paid family leave to their employees.
On Tuesday, Twitter made an announcement that stated they would offer 20-weeks of fully paid family leave for new parents. This new policy would be enacted on May, 1.
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) April 6, 2016
- Ernst & Young – 39 weeks
- Cisco – Six months
- Google – Five months
- Hewlett-Packard – 20 weeks
- Arnold and Porter – 18 weeks
- Reddit – 17 weeks
- Yahoo – 16 weeks
- Facebook – 16 weeks
- Citi – 13 weeks
- Cooley – 13 weeks
- Merrill Lynch – 13 weeks
- Mircosoft – 4 weeks with an option for mothers to take an additional 8 weeks
- Bain and Company – 12 weeks
- Bank of America – 12 weeks
- PricewaterhouseCoopers – 12 weeks
- HubSpot – 12 weeks
- Discovery Communications – 11 weeks with an option for four additional weeks at partial salary
- Ryan – 11 weeks
- Turner Broadcasting System – 10 weeks
- Yale University – 10 weeks
Why is paid parental leave so important? According to experts, many health benefits exist when a newborn is given ample time to bond with their parents. For babies, experts found that the rate of infant mortality dropped by 10 percent when paid parental leave was an option. They also found that children were 25 percent more likely to get their vaccinations.
Over the long term, studies show that mothers who have paid family leave of 12 weeks or more were more likely to have fewer symptoms of depression that are associated with childbirth.
Benefits do not extend only to the mother. Studies have found that fathers who have access to paid family leave had better relationships with their spouse and their child when the father was able to spend more time with his new family.
Do you think paid family leave is a benefit that should be guaranteed by every company in the United States?
[Image via Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images]