San Francisco has become the first city to pass a law guaranteeing new parents fully-paid time off following the birth of a child.
The city board of supervisors, its city council, unanimously passed a measure on Tuesday night that guarantees new parents six weeks of paid leave.
California already offers a state insurance program that pays workers 55% of their normal wages to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member.
The San Francisco law requires that employers make up the balance of the employee’s pay so that they earn 100% of their normal wages for the full six week period.
The legislation states that many employees do not take time off after the birth of a child for fear of lost pay.
The San Francisco measure also makes it illegal to fire an employee after taking parental leave.
The San Francisco law takes effect January 1, 2017 for companies with 50 or more employees and on July 1, 2017, for those with 20 or more workers.
Parental leave is a hot topic among state governments. New York this week passed a 12 weeks paid care program for taking care of a new child or seriously ill family member.
The New York law won’t go into full effect until 2021. It will pay employees 67% of their salary and is funded by a state insurance fund, much like the program in California.
While state governments are finally taking aim at parental leave policies, many tech firms have already began to offer their own generous programs. Ebay and Spotify off six months of fully-paid parental leave. Netflix offers unlimited parental leave, fully paid for the first year following the birth of a child.