San Francisco’s New Paid Family Leave Law in 200 Words

Mother and child

On January 1, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to require six weeks of full-paid leave for working parents following the birth of a child or a new adoption. Prior to this, San Francisco residents were only guaranteed up to 55 percent of their salary for six weeks of family leave under California law. The new law, which will apply to all businesses with 20 or more employees by 2018, represents the country’s most progressive paid family leave law.

San Francisco families will now be able to feel the incredible health benefits paid leave can have for mothers and children. Research shows maternity leave is associated with:

  • an increase in positive health behaviors by the mother,
  • a reduction in maternal depression with longer paid leave
  • and protection against infant mortality.

San Francisco now has more comprehensive family leave benefits than the rest of California, which is one of only three states that offer any guaranteed paid leave. As we discussed in a previous blog post, President Trump campaigned on the promise that he would require Unemployment Insurance to include six weeks of paid leave for all new mothers. We hope San Francisco’s example will inspire lawmakers to help meet the needs of all U.S. families. 

Jennifer Clendening, MPA, MBE, is a former health policy manager at PolicyLab.

This post is part of our “____ in 200 Words” series. In this series, we tackle issues related to children’s health policy and explain and connect you to resources to help understand them further, all in 200 words. If you have any suggestions for a topic in this series, please send a note to PolicyLab’s Communications Manager Lauren Walens.