council endorses landmark paid family leave law

There are numerous causes of gender inequity in the Bay Area economy, and almost none can be corrected without change, and sometimes without new, short term expense. Paid parental leave is one of those issues.  Economists have found that paid parental leave raises the probability that employees, especially women, return to work, and then work more hours and earn higher wages.  In the long term, when compared with the cost of recruitment and training, numerous studies have shown it also reduces costs for employers and benefit the economy at large.

After numerous conversations with our members, including at yesterday’s (March 24) Bay Area Council Executive Committee meeting, the Council has decided to support San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener’s groundbreaking legislation that would make the city the first in the nation to ensure that nearly all employees have access to paid parental leave to bond with a new child. California’s current paid family leave program provides tax-payer funded 55 percent wage replacement for parents on leave for a six-week period, but many workers cannot afford to take leave at only partial wage replacement. Wiener’s legislation would require San Francisco employers with 20 or more workers to make up difference (45 percent) for the up-to-six-week leave period, up to a maximum weekly benefit amount.

The U.S. is currently the only industrialized nation that does not require paid leave. The proposed ordinance was unanimously passed by the Budget and Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday, and will be heard at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 5.  To engage in the Council’s Gender Equity work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.

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