Today’s News & Commentary—April 6, 2016
San Francisco has approved six weeks of fully paid parental leave, making it the first city in the United States to do so. As the New York Times notes, “California is already one of only a few states that offer paid parental leave,” but the new law mandates full pay (the state law offers 55% of one’s normal salary). Under the new law, all new parents — “mothers and fathers, including same-sex couples, who either bear or adopt a child” — are entitled to six weeks of fully paid leave.
Both California and New York have officially passed laws that will gradually raise minimum wage to $15 an hour. According to the Los Angeles Times, the California law is arguably better, but both laws represent major victories for workers. A major difference between the laws is that California’s applies state-wide, whereas New York will implement a $15 wage in New York City before it goes state-wide, thereby leaving “room for wage differences across regions.”
At the Washington Post, Lydia DePillis describes how D.C. workers already making $15/hour are pushing for a raise. D.C. security guards, for example, “have nearly doubled their hourly rate since unionizing in 2008,” and most of them now make about $15 an hour. Nonetheless, they say that it’s “not enough to keep up with the cost of living in D.C.” And they’re not alone in their campaign: D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has already expressed her support for increased wages, and former mayor Vincent Gray, who is running for city council, has now “throw[n] his support behind the idea as well.”
The Labor Department has issued expected regulations mandating that financial advisers and brokers who handle individual retirement and 401(k) accounts act as “fiduciaries” — in other words, that they put customers’ interests first. According to the New York Times, the new rule is rather narrow, as it applies only to tax-advantaged retirement accounts. That said, “it could lead to more sweeping changes across the financial services industry.” More details on the rule are available at Politico.