Jan. 4, 2007 San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Law Goes Into Effect On February 5, 2007


San Francisco has become the first city in the country to require paid sick leave for employees. Every worker in San Francisco must earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Workers may use their paid sick leave to care for themselves, their families or their partners. Big businesses (defined as businesses with more than ten employees) must allow employees to earn up to 72 hours of paid sick leave, while small businesses (defined as those with ten or fewer employees) must provide up to 40 hours. This new sick leave law takes effect February 5, 2007.

For employees currently working for an employer on or before the operative date of the ordinance, paid sick leave begins to accrue as of February 5, 2007. For employees hired after February 5, 2007, paid sick leave begins to accrue 90 days after the commencement of their employment. If an employer has a paid-time-off policy that already provides employees with an amount of paid leave that meets the requirements of the ordinance, the employer is not required to provide additional sick leave. An employer is also not required to provide financial reimbursement to an employee upon the employee's separation from employment for unused accrued paid sick leave.

An employer may require employees to give reasonable notification of an absence from work for which paid sick leave is or will be used. An employer may only take reasonable measures to verify or document that an employee's use of paid sick leave is lawful.

Additionally, employers must post a notice published by San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (“OLSE”) informing employees of their rights under the law in English, Spanish, Chinese, and any language spoken by at least 5% of the employees at the workplace.

Finally, employers must maintain records regarding paid sick leave for a period of four years. These records must be made available to the OLSE for the purpose of monitoring compliance. If there is a dispute regarding an employee’s entitlement and the employer fails to maintain appropriate records, it shall be presumed that the employer has violated the law absent clear and convincing evidence otherwise.

What This Means

San Francisco employers will need to be aware of new requirements regarding accrual, use, and recordkeeping of paid sick leave. Businesses should also make arrangements to order and post OLSE notices as the law will soon require.

This E-Update was authored by Lisa Hird Chung. For more information, please contact Ms. Chung or any Paul, Plevin attorney at 619-237-5200.

Paul, Plevin, Sullivan & Connaughton is pleased to announce that the firm has named Denise N. Brucker as its newest partner.

Ms. Brucker specializes in providing employers with advice and counsel on a broad range of employment matters including hiring and terminations, wage and hour laws, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, employment contracts, trade secrets, personnel policies, and discrimination and harassment issues. She also conducts audits in the areas of exemption classifications and HR compliance.

Ms. Brucker is a 1997 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, and a 1992 graduate of the University of California, San Diego. She joined Paul, Plevin in 2001.