By Kate Kriner, PHRca

Yep, we are talking about the City (and County) by the Bay.

If you have employees working in San Francisco, you are likely (hopefully?) already familiar with the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE). The rest of you might think to skip this article. I hope you reconsider if you have an inkling to open an office in or establish operations in “the City.”

Almost as plentiful as their famous sourdough bread, chocolate and fog, San Francisco has numerous city-specific workplace ordinances—the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO), Minimum Wage, the Health Care Security Ordinance, Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, and the Fair Chance Ordinance, just to name a few. Different ordinances apply depending on the size of the employer. 

Grab a grilled cheese on sourdough and read on for two important updates.   

The first includes a fairly significant amendment to the FFWO. The FFWO has been in effect since 2014 and applies to employers of 20 or more employees who have a physical presence in the City or County. It currently gives eligible employees the right to request flexible working arrangements to assist with caregiving obligations for their child, a family member with a “serious health condition,” or their parent aged 65 years or older.  The full text of the original ordinance is here.

The recent amendment to the FFWO will be in effect on July 12, 2022. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. Expanded eligible employees to include those who telework. However, the employer must have a physical worksite or office within the geographic boundaries of the City and/or County, and the teleworking employee must report to that office/worksite.
  2. A change from a “parent aged 65 or older”, now includes any family member 65 years or older of the employee.
  3. Before the employer can claim an undue hardship in response to a request for a flexible arrangement, they must engage in the interactive process with the employee making the request.

Furthermore, there are administrative penalties for non-compliance. There is a posting requirement (we expect to see an updated notice in the next month). Here is the current notice. The full text of the new rules are here and offer the specific details of the amendment. 

Secondly, we are tracking a proposition on the ballot which would create a permanent Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance. This Ordinance was approved by the voters earlier this month (unofficial results) and we will wait for more information from the OLSE about the potential requirements.  The good news is it will only apply to employers with 100 or more employees (world-wide) and only employees who “work” in San Francisco (we don’t know what “work” means yet—will it include telework?). The bad news is this would give employees yet another bucket of paid leave to be used when a public health emergency has been declared by the City’s local health officer or the state health officer. More to come on that one as we have more information.

Give us a call if you want to think out loud about either of these or any of the other SF ordinances. Always best to be prepared in advance.