On Wednesday, I had the great luck to participate in a passion-filled Paid Family Leave task force meeting in San Francisco. The group was coordinated by Supervisor Katy Tang's office. My favorite part of the meeting was hearing from young women activists who run from mystified to outraged that parents and caregivers in our country don't have the same protections and benefits that their counterparts do all over the world. It's a healthy reaction to our current reality. Righteous indignation - especially on behalf of others - can be the first step toward positive change.
And there are a lot of positive changes in the works this month. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner just introduced a ground-breaking paid family leave bill. Right now, employees who take Paid Family Leave receive up to 55% of their wages for 6 weeks through state disability (SDI). Supervisor Wiener’s ordinance would require San Francisco employers to pay new parents - mothers and fathers - the remaining balance (45%), in order for them to receive full wages while on Paid Family Leave. This would make San Francisco the first city in the country to ensure fully paid parental leave.
Also, New York's Governor Cuomo came out in support of a strong Paid Family Leave bill supported by our sister organizations A Better Balance and Time to Care. The New York bill is for 12 weeks and has job protection - meaning that workers can't be retaliated against or fired for taking leave. This is something the California Work & Family Coalition is working on winning in California. Right now, up to 40% of workers who take Paid Family Leave still risk getting fired for taking the time they need because they are not covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or our state California Family Rights Act (CFRA). All eyes on New York - let's show them our solidarity and support! A win for New York is another stepping stone toward stronger job-protected Paid Family Leave across the country.