The City of San Francisco has passed a Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance, which provides up to 80 hours of additional paid sick leave to employees who aren’t otherwise covered by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The public health emergency leave ordinance took effect on April 17, 2020, when signed by Mayor London Breed.
As we previously reported, the FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to employees for certain absences related to COVID-19. San Francisco’s new ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees and requires them to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to their employees for COVID-19 related reasons. Employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave under the public health emergency leave ordinance if: (1) they’re subject to a quarantine or isolation order due to COVID-19, including individuals who are part of a “vulnerable population” and are unable to work due to recommendations in previously issued orders by state or local authorities; (2) they’ve been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19; (3) they’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis; (4) they’re caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis; (5) they’re caring for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed due to a public health emergency; or (6) they’re experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the local health officer or federal law. Employers of health care providers or first responders may be able to limit their use of paid sick leave under the ordinance, depending on their reason for being unable to work.
The amount and structure of sick leave pay under the public health emergency leave ordinance is the same as San Francisco’s existing paid sick leave ordinance. In addition, all employers must post a notice in their workplace notifying employees about their rights under the new public health emergency leave ordinance.
Tips: If you have employees working within the city limits of San Francisco, and aren’t otherwise subject to the FFCRA, review this new ordinance to understand your obligation to provide paid sick leave for COVID-19 related absences. The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has also developed an FAQ page to help employers navigate through the ordinance. Contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney to discuss how this ordinance applies to you.