On April 21, 2016, San Francisco became the first city to impose a mandatory paid parental leave ordinance. Under the new law, certain covered employers must provide supplemental compensation to employees who are receiving California Paid Family Leave (PFL) for purposes of bonding with a new child. Employers should be mindful of these new obligations, which are likely to expand to other cities and possibly the entire State of California in the future.
Under previously existing law, no California city required that employers provide paid parental leave for bonding with a new child. Employers were only required to notify employees of their rights under the state's PFL program. The PFL program is a component of the California State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and entitles employees who have paid into SDI to receive up to 55% of their lost wages when they must take a leave of absence to care for a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or registered domestic partner. Benefits are capped at six weeks in a 12-month period, and benefits are funded entirely by the SDI program. (Note that California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation that will increase the benefits paid by the California PFL program for eligible leaves from 55% to 60% (or 70% in some cases) beginning on or after January 1, 2018.)
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