The San Francisco Sick Leave Ordinance
The importance of following the San Francisco Sick Leave Ordinance
Recently, it has come to my attention that many of my clients are not following the San Francisco Sick Leave Ordinance and are thereby exposing themselves to potential lawsuits. The ordinance, which became effective on February 5, 2007, requires employers of all sizes to provide employees who work in San Francisco with one hour of paid sick leave for each 30 they work. Again, this is for all employees who work in San Francisco (more than 56 hours a year) regardless of where the employer is based! There is a cap of 40 hours of paid sick leave for employers who have fewer than 10 employees and a cap of 72 hours for those who have more than 10 employees. However, this cap only applies until the employee uses it up. Then the employee can begin to accrue again. There is no annual cap for how much sick leave an employee can accrue or take.
San Francisco Sick Leave Ordinance requires an employer to maintain good records
In addition, the ordinance requires employers to post it where it can easily be seen, to keep track of employees' hours for the purposes of according paid sick leave, and to keep a record of these hours for four years in case of audit by the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE). I would also recommend including something about it in your employee handbook. I've enclosed a sample policy I recently drafted below. It’s a very bare bones one that can be added to as your company sees fit. Please feel free to post comments or questions about it on the blog.
San Francisco Sick Leave Ordinance Insert for Employee Handbooks
Sick leave is a form of insurance that employees accumulate in order to provide a cushion for incapacitation due to illness. It is intended to be used only when actually required to recover from illness or injury; sick leave is not for “personal” absences. Sick leave can be used when an employee is ill, injured, or receiving medical care, treatment, or diagnosis, or when attending to a family member or designated person who is ill, injured, or receiving medical care, treatment, or diagnosis.
The company offers paid sick leave to employees pursuant to the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. This ordinance is posted on the Company’s premises at ___. Employees accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for each 30 worked. After an employee accrues 40 hours of sick leave, she is ineligible to accrue more paid sick leave until she has used some or all of her accrued paid sick leave (note that this cap changes with larger employers). There is no cap on how much sick leave an employee may accrue or use in a year.
The Company does not pay employees in lieu of unused sick leave.