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The Editors

San Francisco's Family-Leave Policy Is Right Goal, Wrong Approach

Paid leave is good for workers and the economy, but charging employers could set back the cause.
Hard to argue with this.

Hard to argue with this.

Photographer: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Next year, San Francisco will become the first U.S. city to guarantee fully paid family leave to almost everyone who works there. May it also be the last.

Or rather, may it be the last that makes employers pay so much of the cost. The way San Francisco has designed its program risks undermining support for the policy -- and there's little doubt that more generous and accessible family-leave policies benefit both workers and the overall economy. Workers who get paid parental leave are more likely to stay in their jobs and have healthier children, which can lower government social spending in the long run.