San Francisco recently became the first city in the United States to mandate fully-paid paternal leave. As a child who grew up in the United Kingdom, I am thrilled to see this advancement in the US. As a mom currently living in San Francisco, I am appreciative of the effort the city is making to support families. But as an owner of a 25-person company in downtown San Francisco, it gave me pause.
I co-founded Little Passports in 2009, an educational brand for kids that creates engaging materials and fosters learning through hands-on activities. As one of the 2,400 small business members in the city, I understand the challenges that this new law will generate. In California, our state covers 55 percent of a parent's salary for six weeks. With the new law, small businesses will be required to pay the remaining 45 percent. However, as a family-centric brand and a mother myself, I also understand the opportunities it will create for my employees and growing team. We are investing in the health and happiness of our employees, which will in turn benefit our company. After looking at both sides of the discussion surrounding the new law, it didn't take long for me to come down squarely in support of it.
I took a deeper look at the numbers and realized that the implications are not severe. As a small business that can't afford to compete with the expensive benefits at companies like Google and Facebook, we compete and retain talent by providing a flexible, trust-based work environment that allows employees to meet both their work and their family obligations. This is something I take pride in as both a mother and small business owner.
All business owners know that retaining good employees is key to a successful business, and if you take care of your employees they will take care of you. At Little Passports, we try to go above and beyond that theory, so this mandate is a welcome addition to our company culture. We’ve found that offering a variety of benefits, including unlimited vacation and two work-from-home days per week, is rewarding for both our employees and business. For this reason I’m happy to accept the new law and promote it within our company and I am looking forward to see how it enhances our team.