According to a recent study, San Francisco and Fremont are the fourth- and sixth-best cities for working parents in the US. These Bay Area locales have more than just nice weather and high wages. They also offer a suite of other benefits and protections that make raising children while working full-time easier.
But what makes a place a good option for parents? There are a lot of factors involved. According to CoworkingCafe, which performed the review, it considered details ranging from working conditions to education opportunities to health and environmental concerns. The study even left out certain critical features, such as protections for workers with families, that might have elevated Fremont and San Francisco even higher. Let’s break down what the study looked at, what it left out, and what you can do to make the most of these features.
What Makes Cities Parent-Friendly?
There’s a lot to consider regarding parent-friendly locations. The CoworkingCafe study rated cities based on three categories:
- Education (40%): How affordable is childcare? How well do public schools rank? How available is public education?
- Work (40%): How many people work remotely or in remote-eligible roles?
- Health & Environment (20%): How many pediatricians are there? How much green space is there? What is the air quality like?
While these are valuable tools, the study prioritizes remote work and coworking solutions over other working conditions due to its source. Other factors that should be considered when determining a city’s true friendliness toward working parents include:
- Cost of living: How affordable is an area to live in? How much does housing and transport cost?
- Minimum and median wages: How much can parents expect to earn to support their families?
- Parental and family leave policies: If a worker wants to start or expand their family, will they be able to take time off?
- Paid leave opportunities: Can a new parent take time off to bond with their child without sacrificing their financial stability?
- General worker protections: If an employee is forced to leave their job due to discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination, what options do they have?
Considering these factors alongside the CoworkingCafe review may lead to a much more well-rounded understanding of what makes a city good for parents.
Why San Francisco and Fremont Are Working Parents’ Paradise
Whether you consider the nationwide review on its own or add the extra factors listed above, the Bay Area looks like an excellent option for parents.
Fremont is the number six city for working parents nationally because of its excellent environment and comparatively low childcare expenses. Meanwhile, San Francisco is named the number four city nationwide because of its large share of remote-eligible jobs, which signifies that workers have substantial flexibility in where they work. That flexibility is often indicative of positive work environments. It also has great air quality and excellent medical infrastructure.
The report leaves out the sheer number of protections offered to working parents in California. Among the most valuable state initiatives to support families are:
- Paid Family Leave (PFL): Eligible workers can receive PFL assistance worth up to 70% of their average income for eight weeks while welcoming new children to the family.
- School-related leave: Workers can take up to 40 hours a year off work to manage issues related to their children’s schooling or daycare, including attending open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and more.
- Medical and pregnancy leave: The state has some of the best protected leave policies in the country. Employees may take protected time off to ensure a healthy pregnancy or care for sick children.
- CFRA coverage: Compared to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) extends protected leave to a much larger portion of the working population.
These policies apply statewide, giving workers greater options to care for their children. San Francisco still edges ahead of Fremont, though, due to two critical city laws:
- Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO): Employees covered by the FFWO may request flexible or predictable work schedules to simplify caregiving responsibilities toward their children. Additionally, employers may not retaliate against workers who request these schedules.
- Paid Parental Leave Ordinance: Employers are required to supplement the income of workers who are currently receiving state PFL assistance to equal 100% of their normal income.
These policies make San Francisco indisputably one of the best places for working parents nationwide.
Make the Most of Your Rights as a Working Parent in California
There’s no doubt that California laws make working full-time easier for parents. However, these policies only help you if you know your rights. Employers may still attempt to discriminate and retaliate against workers requesting protected leave and accommodations despite the law. This may look like:
- Refusing to grant protected leave without providing a reason
- Threatening to fire you for asking or taking protected leave
- Terminating your employment during leave
- Cutting your hours, pay, or responsibilities before or after taking time off
- Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations while you’re pregnant
If you have experienced any of these problems, you likely have the right to take legal action. You may be able to hold your employer accountable for violating your rights under state and municipal law and pursue compensation for your losses.At Le Clerc & Le Clerc LLP, we’re dedicated to protecting employees from rights violations like these. We are prepared to advocate for you in court or at the negotiation table to help you achieve fair compensation for a lost job, pay, or refused accommodations. Schedule your free consultation with our Bay Area employment law firm to learn how we can protect your rights as a working parent in California.