What You Need To Know About San Francisco’s New Public Health Emergency Leave

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Are you an employer that has 100 or more employees, with any that work in the City or County of San Francisco, California? If so, starting October 1, 2022, these San Francisco employees will be entitled to additional paid leave time due to the newly passed Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance.

In June 2022, San Francisco voters passed Proposition G, which will require employers with more than 100 worldwide employees to provide Public Health Emergency Leave to the employees who work in the City or County of San Francisco during a public health emergency, including air quality emergencies. This paid leave time is in addition to paid leave that is already provided by employers.

What are the reasons that an employee can use Public Health Emergency Leave?

An employee may use Public Health Emergency Leave hours during a public health emergency if they are unable to work for any of the following reasons:

  1. Based on recommendations or requirements of a federal, state, or local health order (including an order issued by the local jurisdiction in which an employee resides) related to the public health emergency;
  2. The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to isolate or quarantine;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of and seeking a medical diagnosis, or has received a positive medical diagnosis, for a possible infectious, contagious or communicable disease associated with the public health emergency;
  4. The employee is caring for a family member who is subject to an order as described in (1), has been advised as described in (2) or is experiencing symptoms as described in (3);
  5. The employee is caring for a family member if the school or place of care of the family member has been closed, or the care provider of such family member is unavailable, due to the public health emergency; and
  6. An air quality emergency, such as “Spare The Air”, if the employee is a member of a vulnerable population and primarily works outdoors.

How many Public Health Emergency Leave hours will employees receive?

2022:
Between October 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, employers are only required to provide up to 40 hours of leave, calculated based on the amount of hours an employee regularly worked or took paid leave during a one-week work period.

Starting 2023:
Starting January 1, 2023, and annually thereafter, employers must provide up to 80 hours of paid leave for Public Health Emergency Leave usage. The actual amount an employee receives depends on a few factors.

For Full-Time employees with a regular/fixed work schedule:

  • Employees are entitled to an amount equal to the number of hours they regularly work or take paid leave over a two week period.

For Part-Time employees, or employees with variable hours:

  • Employees are entitled to an amount equal to the average number of hours they worked or took paid leave during the previous calendar year, or since their start date if they became employed after the beginning of the previous calendar year

or

  • If an employee was not employed on October 1, 2022, or on January 1 of a calendar year thereafter, then on the start date of the first Public Health Emergency during the employee’s employment, they receive leave hours equal to the average number of hours they worked over a two-week period or took paid leave during the previous six months, or since their start date if they’ve been employed for fewer than six months.

Any unused Public Health Emergency Leave hours do not carry over to the next year.

Are any employees not eligible for this leave?

Public Health Emergency Leave will not apply to certain non-profits or unionized workers covered by bona fide collective bargaining agreements.

How are employers required to notify employees?

Employers must provide written notice of an employee’s available Public Health Emergency Leave hours on the employee’s wage statement, or in a separate writing provided on the designated pay date with the payment of wages.

Employers must also post notices, provided here by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, in English, Spanish, Chinese, Filipino, and any other language spoken by more than 5% of the San Francisco workforce, in a conspicuous place at any workplace or job site where any of their employees works. These notices may also be provided to employees via electronic communication, which may include email, text, and/or posting in a conspicuous place in an Employer’s web-based or app-based platform.

Employers should continue to check San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement webpage for updated information, which can be found here:

https://sfgov.org/olse/

California Payroll is ready to assist employers with managing these accruals. Learn more about our Accrual Tracking service on our Payroll Products page, or fill out this form to connect with a specialist today!

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