San Francisco Military Paid Leave

By Kris Janisch
Published Feb. 8, 2023

San Francisco Military Paid Leave

Employers with locations in San Francisco should review the ordinance and prepare for its effective date in February 2023.

San Francisco military paid leave goes into effect later this month, following action from the city’s board of supervisors.

Hailed as the first of its kind, the ordinance requires large employers to provide partial paid leave to workers while they are on military duty.

The city approved the ordinance in January 2023. It goes into effect Feb. 19, 2023. There does not appear to be an associated labor law poster at this time.

Paid Leave Management. Simplified.

San Francisco Military Paid Leave

The ordinance applies to employers with 100 or more workers, regardless of their location. (However, the law does not apply to the city or other governmental agencies.)

Covered employees are those who work within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, including part-time and temporary employees, and serve in the reserve corps of U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, or other U.S. uniformed service organization.

Meanwhile, according to the ordinance, military duty is defined as:

Active military service in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, international terrorism, the conflict in Iraq, or related extraordinary circumstances, or military service to provide medical or logistical support to federal, state, or local government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or engagement in military duty ordered for the purposes of military training, drills, encampment, naval cruises, special exercises, emergency state active duty or like activity.

Other Notes on Military Paid Leave in San Francisco

Of course, there are several details of the ordinance for employers to note.


The first is compensation, which follows different rules compared to other paid leave laws.

While an employee is on military duty, companies must pay workers the difference between the amount of the employee’s gross military pay and the gross pay the employer would have paid the employee had they worked their regular schedule. Overtime is not included, unless it is part of that regular schedule.

There are also limitations on compensation:

  • It can be offset by amounts paid under any other law (or an employer’s military leave policy) to ensure the employee does not receive excessive payments for the leave time taken
  • If an employee is able to return to work but does not do so within 60 days of release from military duty, the employer can treat any supplemental compensation paid to the employee during the employee’s military leave as a loan to be repaid with interest

Incremental Use Amounts

An employee may take military duty leave in increments of one or more days at a time, for up to 30 days in any calendar year.


Oversight of the program comes under the supervision of the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, which will field complaints, order backpay for violations, assess fines and take other actions against employers found in violation of the San Francisco military paid leave law.

Find more details in the ordinance.

Managing Paid Leave Laws

The new San Francisco military paid leave law, which appears to be the first of its kind, underscores the challenges of managing paid leave across the U.S.

Last year, nearly 250 paid leave bills were introduced across, with 30 bills that either enacted, updated, amended or introduced. And that doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2023.

In addition to new legislation being introduced, employers also have to keep up with guidance and updates to paid leave laws that are already in effect. At the start of 2023, there were several updates to existing laws for employers to be aware of. Read our blog, What’s New for Paid Leave Laws on Jan. 1, 2023?, for more information.

Increasingly, employers that operate in several jurisdictions in the U.S. must monitor legislation and correctly apply new and updated paid leave laws.

How to Manage Paid Leave Laws for Remote and Hybrid Workers


Employers with locations in San Francisco should review the ordinance and prepare for its effective date in February 2023.

It may also be prudent to evaluate which employees would be covered under the San Francisco military paid leave law to ensure compliance moving forward.

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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