San Francisco: Updated Paid Sick Leave Effective January 1, 2017

San Francisco is ugolden-gate-bridge-388917_1920pdating their paid sick leave law, first enacted in 2007. The new changes will go into effect on January 1, 2017. Prior to January 1, 2017, employers should continue to follow the existing paid sick leave ordinance (click here to read the original ordinance). As a brief overview, the current law requires all employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees, including part time and temporary employees, who work in San Francisco. This leave can be used for an employee’s illness, injury or to receive medical treatment or to assist a family member or other designated person who is ill, injured or receiving medical treatment.

Employees in San Francisco currently begin accruing sick leave after 90 days of employment and can accrue up to 72 hours of paid sick leave. Employers with less than ten employees (including full time, part time and temporary employees), have a reduced maximum accrual of 40 hours of paid sick leave.

The new changes to the ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2017 are highlighted below:

  • Leave Accrual & Use – Similar to California state law, employees hired on or after January 1, 2017 will begin accruing sick leave beginning on their first day of employment, but cannot use sick leave until 90 days after their hire date.
  • Accrual Method – Employers in San Francisco can now either allow employees to accrue paid sick leave each pay period or accrue a lump sump at one time. For lump sum accrual, employers can decide whether employees will earn the sick time at the beginning of the calendar year, on the employee’s anniversary date with the company or on any other fixed 12 month period. Employers should have a written policy detailing when the lump sum accrual will be available. If there is no written policy then a written statement must be given to each employee to define when the lump sum will be available.
  • Use of Leave – An employer will no longer be able to require that sick leave be taken in at least one hour increments. Employees will also be allowed to use their paid sick leave to receive preventive care and/or to donate bone marrow or an organ. The new ordinance also allows employees to use paid sick time to assist a family member or other designated person who donates bone marrow or an organ. Also, similar to California state law, employees who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking to seek assistance or treatment as defined by Sections 230(c) and 231.1(a) of the CA Labor Code.
  • Wage Statements – Under the California paid sick leave law employers are required to provide employees with their available sick time on each check stub or in writing at least once per pay cycle. If employers are maintaining separate sick leave for California and for San Francisco, then both must be listed on the statement given to the employee. It may be in an employer’s best interest to simplify their sick leave policies to include all requirements of both the California state law and the San Francisco ordinance and track just one sick leave “bank” per employee.
  • Rehired Employees – Any employee who leaves employment, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, and then begins employment again with the same company within one year must have all of their sick time previously accrued reinstated. The rehired employee must also be allowed to use the available sick time beginning on the date of hire rather than waiting 90 days like a newly hired employee. One exception to this is in the case where an employee who is leaving employment receives a monetary pay out for their unused sick time at the time of separation.

Employers with employees in San Francisco should begin to review their paid time off policies to ensure you are in compliance with the California state paid sick leave law as well as the amended San Francisco city ordinance.

For more information on the California state law, read this previous post: California Employers Required to Provide Paid Sick Leave

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