San Francisco Emergency Paid Leave Passes

By Kris Janisch
Published July 18, 2022

San Francisco Emergency Paid Leave

San Francisco’s emergency paid leave ordinance goes into effect Oct. 1, 2022. 

San Francisco emergency paid leave passed last month under a voter-approved ballot measure.

The ordinance adopts paid leave requirements similar to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was in effect earlier during the COVID-19 the pandemic but expired in December 2020.

Employers with 100 or more workers worldwide will need to provide employees up to 80 hours of paid leave for reasons related to public health emergencies.

San Francisco’s emergency paid leave ordinance goes into effect Oct. 1, 2022. The paid leave law is in addition to employer-provided paid leave.

Also, employers will have to display an associated labor law posting, but it has yet to be released as of this writing.

UPDATE (Aug. 18, 2022): A new labor law posting has been released, in several languages.

Paid Leave Management. Simplified.

San Francisco Emergency Paid Leave

The new ordinance in San Francisco allows covered employees to use the leave only when a public health emergency is in place.

The amount of leave each year is equal to the number of hours that each employee regularly works over a two-week period, with a maximum of 80 hours.

What is a public health emergency in San Francisco?

Under the successful ballot measure, a public health emergency includes:

Specifically, workers can use San Francisco emergency paid leave when:

  • They or their family member can’t work because of recommendations or requirements of a health order regarding the emergency
  • They or their family member has symptoms of the disease causing the emergency or tests positive
  • They employee primarily works outdoors and has a heart or lung disease, respiratory problems, is pregnant, or is at least 60 years old when a Spare the Air Alert is in effect

Whitepaper: What Employers Need to Know About Paid Leave Laws

San Francisco Paid Leave

San Francisco has paid sick leave and paid parental leave laws on the books. And the new emergency paid leave ordinance will only add to the employment law compliance puzzle.

As a brief refresher…

Paid Sick Leave

For companies with 10 or more employers, they must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Those employees can accrue up to 72 hours of paid leave, which does carry over from year to year. (The law has separate requirements for small employers.)

Meanwhile, employees can begin using paid sick leave on the 90th day of employment. It can be used for an existing health condition or preventive care, or for specified purposes for an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

It can also be used for employee’s own care or care of a family member or designated person.

Paid Parental Leave

San Francisco’s supplemental paid parental leave law requires covered employers to provide employees with paid leave for baby bonding within 12 months of the birth or placement of a child.

Unlike other forms of paid family and medical leave, it can only be used for new child bonding. Employers should consult legal counsel to see how it interacts with California’s paid family leave program.

Paid Leave Glossary


In recent years, employment laws have been put before voters more regularly. It creates an additional burden for large employers, extending the scope of research from legislative bodies to the polls.

With San Francisco’s emergency paid leave ordinance going into effect Oct. 1, 2022, employers should prepare for the changes now to ensure compliance.

Plus, should a COVID-19 variant once again gain a foothold in the city, employers will have to keep tabs on reasons for using paid leave, again illustrating the difficulties of managing paid leave laws across the U.S.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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