San Francisco approves historic parental leave measure

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SAN FRANCISCO – Working parents in San Francisco will be able to enjoy fully-paid parental leave thanks to a new measure approved Tuesday – the first of its kind in the nation.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously backed the measure, which would provide both parents with six weeks of fully-paid leave after a birth or adoption.

“Our country’s parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world, and today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers,” Supervisor Scott Weiner, who authored the bill, said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be forcing new mothers and fathers to choose between spending precious bonding time with their children and putting food on the table.”

The measure awaits the approval of Mayor Ed Lee, who confirmed Tuesday he plans on signing it.

The law would require the state to cover 55 percent of the cost, with businesses of 20 or more employees covering the rest.

Opponents of the bill, including small business owners, say the measure is just another financial burden – such as health care and paid sick leave – that the city is unfairly forcing them to cover.

States such as Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and California guarantee partial pay for new parents, provided by the employees.

New York recently approved a measure giving employees 12 weeks of partially paid time off, with the money coming from a weekly payroll tax.