San Francisco emergency paid leave could become a permanent law if a spring 2022 ballot initiative is successful.
For background, while San Francisco also has its own standard paid sick leave law, it does not explicitly cover public health emergency leave. (Note that California’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave law was recently reinstated and is in effect through Sept. 30, 2022.)
The new, permanent emergency paid leave ordinance will be put to voters during a statewide primary election on June 7, 2022.
San Francisco Emergency Paid Leave
Under the ballot proposal, finalized in early March 2022, employers with more than 100 employees worldwide would be covered. However, the paid leave would only cover employees working in San Francisco.
If passed, it would go into effect Oct. 1, 2022.
The amount of leave each year would be equal to the number of hours an employee regularly works over a two-week period, up to a maximum of 80 hours.
The leave would only be available during a public health emergency, which includes:
- A local or state health emergency relating to any infectious disease, as declared by a local or state health official
- When a Spare the Air Alert is in effect
Meanwhile, when either of those situations are in effect, employees in San Francisco would be able to use emergency paid leave in several instances:
- The employee or their family member is unable to work due to the recommendations or requirements of a health order addressing the emergency
- The employee or their family member has symptoms of the disease that prompted the emergency or tests positive for the disease
- The employee primarily works outdoors and has heart or lung disease, has respiratory problems, is pregnant, or is at least 60 years old when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect
Lastly, if passed by voters, the law would also apply to city employees.
Paid Leave Management. Simplified.
San Francisco Paid Sick Leave
While it remains to be seen how voters will react to the San Francisco emergency paid leave ballot proposal, it is worth noting some of the specifics of the city’s existing paid sick leave ordinance.
Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and may begin using leave on the 90th day after the start of their employment. For large employers, those with 10 or more workers, the accrual is capped at 72 hours.
Eligible reasons for use under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance include:
- To care for self or family member due to employee or family member’s illness, injury, or medical condition, including treatment and diagnosis
- Time off to deal with issues resulting from employee being the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking
- Time off for an employee to donate employee’s bone marrow or an organ to another person or to care for a family member’s donating bone marrow or an organ to another person
“Family member” is broadly defined under the city’s paid sick leave law.
Employers with locations in San Francisco may want to keep an eye on the primary election results in June 2022.
Also, should voters there opt to pass the San Francisco emergency paid leave ballot initiative, it will mean a relatively short period of time between the election and its Oct. 1, 2022, effective date.
Employers should review their paid leave processes and be prepared to make changes, if needed, should the ballot measure succeed.