Reports opened April 5, 2016 that San Francisco will become the first city in the nation to require businesses to provide fully paid parental leave for employees. There was no surprise when the passing of this law sparked emotions with citizens of the Bay Area. The board of supervisors voted unanimously because many family’s are put in a position where they must choose, bond with my new born baby or put food on the table. This law helps with single mothers especially, who work hard to take care of their children, and as a parent the first few months are critical for bonding with your child, both father and mother. The employee must have worked at least 6 months with the company prior and in return six weeks of fully paid work will be provided.
This comes to no surprise that this ruling has sparked many interest, large parts are in favor, others not so much. Yes, this is a costly decision for both the government and business. However, there has been much support from the business-sponsored Bay Area Council, whose members include Google and Microsoft and other supporters including Planned Parenthood, the California Work & Family Coalition, Equal Rights Advocates, the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, and The Opportunity Institute. One citizen in opposition of the law feels it is unjust to the economy, and sees it as forcing “compassion” on to business which is not only unhealthy, but also killing the entrepreneurial spirit. The main concern lies with the patter it could create with people in society, will they get too comfortable with government “freebies” so to speak. Others in opposition say they will only hire senior citizen. Although these are valid concerns, they are not out weighting the benefits of society as a whole, and the overall positives that will stem from the passing of this law. Allowing parents to be able to be with their newborn creates better citizen for our future. There are a plethora of studies showing the importence of physical contact with infants. Touch and emotional engagement are proven to boost childhood development and it is very challenging for a newborn to recover from neglectful environments. According to Scientific American, children who have had ample physical or emotional attention are at higher risk for behavioral, emotional and social problems as they grow up. Trends show that lasting effects of early infancy environments have vastly different hormone levels compared to parent raised peers that show far beyond their baby years (Katherine Harmon, Scientific American). Local business will pay 45 percent of the cost while the state will cover the rest. On January 1st, this will go into effect.
Honestly, it is about time. The United States is one of four countries where mothers are not granted maternity leave. Our nation is behind, however San Francisco is making headway. Yes, there are negatives, one of them being the new high cost may discourage new business owners to opening but in the long run these organizations will have loyal employees. In 2017, when the law is put into place, San Francisco and the state of California will cover these costs. Many are curious where the money will come from, how the state and city will be able to afford it. The money is coming directly out of state insurance programs funded by workers, however if a businesses has less than 20 employees, then they do not have to worry about making up the rest, or if a business provides equal benefits they do not have to worry about making up the rest. Supervisor Scott Wiener states, “We’re trying to balance the needs of businesses and of many families who are struggling to get by. Especially low-income and working class families right now literally having to choose”, which is exactly what this law will be doing, providing equal opportunity for all.