It’s time for the American government, to recognize paid parental leave as an investment in our future.
From the city that brought you Uber, Slack and One Kings Lane comes another new best friend for new parents:
This week, San Francisco became the first American city to offer fully paid leave to all new parents.
This new policy means that new parents can keep things strong on the home front when baby arrives—and stay employed and engaged at work, by mandating that businesses larger than 20 employees help cover 100% of wages during the time off.
The measure approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors will give new mothers and fathers six weeks of fully paid time off, a rarity now offered to some government sector workers and some private employees, particularly those who work in the tech industry.
The measure now guarantees full pay for six weeks after the birth or adoption of a child—and can be accessed by mothers and fathers, as well as same-sex couples.
Few American mothers have access to paid maternity leave. The federal government only requires that women be prevented from losing their job during up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave—but not that they get paid time off to recover from childbirth and bond.
While the San Francisco measure is a start, leaving the issue to a patchwork of local regulations is not enough.
It's time for the American government, at all levels, to recognize paid parental leave for what it truly is—an investment in the long-term physical, social and mental health of our most precious natural resource—our children and families.