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San Francisco Approves Fully Paid Leave for Parents by 2018

The city of San Francisco, California passed a measure on Tuesday requiring businesses with 20 employees or more to provide fully paid leave to new parents.

The measure was approved unanimously by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch of the City and County of San Francisco. It covers both mothers and fathers and gives them six weeks of paid time off, AP reported.

The measure goes into effect in stages – businesses that have 50 employees or more must comply starting in January 2017. Then, businesses with 35 to 49 employees must give the time off starting in July 2017, while businesses with 20 to 34 employees are given until January 2018.

Supervisor Scott Wiener was one of the members who pushed the measure.

“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. 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.” Scott Wiener

The measure awaits the approval of Mayor Ed Lee, who is expected to sign after two amendments are added, according to spokesperson Christine Falvey.

The measure has both its supporters and critics.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said paid parental leave will increase productivity by increasing the likelihood that employees will return to their jobs after a new baby. “That is good for business and for families,” he said.

However, small business owners are concerned, according to Dee Dee Workman, vice president of public policy at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

“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,” Workman said.

Paid parental leave has become a key discussion in the U.S. Presidential election, particularly in the Democratic party primary debates between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.

(Image: Jeff Chiu/AP)

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