SAN FRANCISCO, April 6 (UPI) -- San Francisco on Tuesday became the first U.S. city to mandate six weeks of fully paid leave for new parents, with the hope the law will spark similar laws across the country.
The expansive new law goes into effect Jan. 1 and covers mothers and fathers, same-sex couples and parents who adopt a child. The mandate applies to parents who have worked at least six months at companies with 50 employees or more, but will include companies with as few as 20 in 2018.
California is one of the first states that offers a partially paid parental leave. But the new law in San Francisco requires full paid leave. An employee-financed disability insurance pays for about half the leave and employers pay for the other half.
The Chamber of Commerce seemed stuck between the needs of parents and the needs of small-business owners, many of whom opposed the new law.
The chamber declared itself neutral on the issue, but noted there was a "strong belief among many business owners that once again, to the financial detriment of small businesses, a mandate is being adopted in San Francisco that would be better dealt with at the state or federal level."
The United States is the only developed country that doesn't mandate paid parental leave at a federal level, despite experts extolling the health benefits for parent and child.