Resulting from a ballot measure passed by voters in November, San Francisco, California has just become the first city in the country requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to employees.
Resulting from a ballot measure passed by voters in November, San Francisco, California has just become the first city in the country requiring all employers to provide paid sick leave to employees. This is the second of a “one-two” punch that impacts San Francisco employers this year. The “one” was when the minimum wage for employees in San Francisco rose to $9.14 per hour starting January 1, 2007.
Effective February 5, all employers in San Francisco are required to provide all full-time, part-time and temporary employees with paid sick leave, which accrues at a rate of one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked. This applies to all employers with employees in San Francisco, regardless of where the employer is located. All employees who are employed as of February 5 begin accruing paid sick time immediately. All employees hired after February 5 begin accruing paid sick time 90 days after the start of employment.
The amount of time employees may accrue is capped, based upon the size of the employer. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may cap accrual of paid sick time at 40 hours. Employers with 10 or more employees may cap accrual at 72 hours. Once an employee reaches the cap, the employee ceases to accrue any additional sick time until the employee uses some of the time. Employers are not required to pay out accrued, but unused, paid sick time.
While, previously, California law required employers to permit employees to use up to one half of their annual sick leave entitlement to take time off to care for an ill parent, child, spouse or domestic partner, this new law in San Francisco broadens that applicability. Under the new law, once an employee has accrued paid sick time, that time can be applied to cover the illness of either the employee, family member (including parent, child, spouse, grandparent, grandchild, and domestic partner), or a “designated person” selected by employees who are unmarried and not part of a registered domestic partnership.
All San Francisco employers must post a notice advising employees of the new law and employers must retain records related to this leave for four years.
There are several aspects of this law that are not clearly delineated. For example, the law applies to all employees, which theoretically includes exempt employees. However, the law does not address how employers are to track the time accrued by exempt employees without the risk of losing their exemption by tracking hours. The law also does not address sick leave accrual for employees who are only temporarily working in San Francisco. Further, the law does not address employers whose workforce varies above and below the 10 person cut-off used to calculate the amount of sick time employees accrue, such as employers with seasonal operations.
Bottom Line for Employers:
While this benefit only applies to employers with employees within the City of San Francisco, it highlights the importance of recordkeeping and tracking employee time off. Now, employers with employees in various cities who also have employees in San Francisco must make certain that human resources is aware of this additional requirement and benefit afforded to those employees within San Francisco.
If you have any questions about this new law, its ramifications, or how to implement it in your operations, please feel free to contact the author of this Alert, Helene Wasserman in the Los Angeles office of Ford & Harrison at (213) 237-2403 or email@example.com
or the Ford & Harrison attorney with whom you usually work.