United States: New Paid Leave Laws Taking Effect In San Francisco And Across California

California is once again at the forefront of increasing employee benefits—likely bringing joy and relief to employees with new babies but concern to many employers. Just weeks after increasing California's minimum wage to $15 per hour (See our April 18, 2016 Duane Morris Alert), the Golden State increased family leave benefits and the City of San Francisco became the first city in the United States to approve fully paid parental leave.

In 2004, California became the first state in the country to create a family leave insurance program ("Paid Family Leave") that provides partial wage replacement to eligible employees on leave for bonding with a new child or family caregiving needs. Under the program, eligible employees who contribute to the California State Disability Insurance fund are entitled to six weeks of partial (55 percent) pay each year while taking time off from work to bond with a newborn baby, newly adopted child or a new foster child or to care for specified seriously ill family members. The 55-percent wage replacement is funded by employee payroll contributions. Since that law was passed, three other states (New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York) followed suit with partial pay during leave laws.

Last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will increase the amount of wage replacement payable under the Paid Family Leave law. Beginning January 1, 2018, qualified employees will be eligible to receive up to 70 percent of their weekly wages from the state during a qualifying leave of absence.

In a related move, the City of San Francisco enacted a law in April that makes it the first city in the United States to require employers of 50 or more employees to supplement payments to employees receiving Paid Family Leave benefits for the purpose of new child bonding. The new Paid Parental Leave Law for Bonding with New Child is intended to supplement the state's Paid Family Leave partial wage replacement law by providing compensation that, in combination with the payment by the state, will total 100 percent of an employee's weekly salary, subject to a weekly maximum benefit amount, for a period of up to six weeks.

The San Francisco law applies to certain part-time and temporary employees but contains geographical and length of employment restrictions. Government employers are excluded, and the requirements may be waived by collective bargaining. The law addresses fluctuating pay, caps and situations involving multiple employers.Although the law initially applies to employers of 50 or more, smaller employers are phased in, with employers of 35 or more required to comply, beginning July 1, 2017, and employers with 20 or more required to comply, beginning January 1, 2018.

Like most recent employment laws enacted by the city, the new ordinance prohibits retaliation. Employees terminated after requesting Paid Family Leave are presumed to have been discharged to avoid the new law, obligating employers to pay the supplemental compensation during the leave period despite the discharge, unless the employer can rebut the presumption. The law also addresses reimbursement in certain situations by employees who do not return to work.

Employers who do not comply may be ordered to do so by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, and they also may face additional payments, penalties and a civil action (subject to some limitations).

Neither the California Paid Family Leave law nor the San Francisco Paid Parental Leave for Bonding with New Child ordinance provide an employee the right to take a leave of absence. They provide for wage replacement if any employee qualifies for a leave. Further, the San Francisco law does not provide for wage replacement for reasons other than bonding with a new child, although the California law is designed to supplement for pay during leaves unrelated to baby bonding.

The San Francisco ordinance takes effect on January 1, 2017, for companies with more than 50 employees. On January 1, 2018, the ordinance will expand to employers with 20 or more employees. The changes to California Paid Family leave take effect on January 1, 2018. This means that employers in San Francisco should anticipate paying as much as45 percent of an eligible employee's wages for up to six weeks, beginning on January 1, 2017. Starting on January 1, 2018, when the changes to the California law take effect, the percentage of pay the employer is required to pay will drop.

The new legislation reflects a greater trend of employer paid leaves, including California's mandatory paid sick leave law, which took effect in January 2015 and applies to all employers. (See our September 11, 2014 Duane Morris Alert.) Other states may follow California's lead as legislators in New York also recently approved up to 12 weeks of partial pay for eligible employees. (See our April 29, 2016 Duane Morris Alert.)

If you have any questions about this Alert or would like more information, please contact any member of the Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.