California Labor &
Employment Law Blog
Apr 5, 2016

San Francisco Passes Fully Paid Parental Leave Ordinance

Topics: Employee Benefits, New Laws & Legislation

Today, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to pass an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid parental leave to employees.  To be clear, the ordinance does not require employers to provide 100% of the employee’s pay, but rather requires employers to bridge the gap between the employee’s regular compensation and the wage replacement benefit the employee receives from the State EDD under the state’s paid family leave program.  Under that program, employees generally receive 55% of their wages for up to six weeks when they take leave to bond with a new child (and/or for other covered reasons).  The new San Francisco law will require employers to pay the remaining 45% of the employee’s wages for up to six weeks when the employee (mother or father) takes leave to bond with a newborn baby, a newly adopted child, or a new foster child.  According to the latest accessible version of the ordinance, the new law will take effect January 1, 2017 for employers with 50 or more employees.  Employers with 20 or more employees will be required to comply beginning July 1, 2017.  Employees who will be covered by the new law and entitled to this supplemental wage replacement are those (1) who have been employed at least 90 days prior to the start of the leave; (2) who work at least 8 hours per week for the employer in San Francisco and 40% of whose total weekly hours are worked in San Francisco; and (3) who is eligible to received Paid Family Leave under the state program for purposes of bonding with a new child.   Some local newspapers are reporting that the Board of Supervisors agreed to additional amendments that would make the ordinance applicable to employers with 35 or more employees on July 1, 2017, and to employers with 20 or more employees on July 1, 2018, and which would make the benefit available only to employees who have worked for the employer for at least 180 days (instead of 90).  We will post clarification once the final language of the ordinance is published.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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