San Francisco Employee Paid Leave During Coronavirus Crisis
Among the Coronavirus’ many effects – which include suspending the NBA, stymieing global travel, and promoting eviction moratoriums – numerous California employers, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Salesforce, are requesting employees work from home. Now, multiple California employees must acclimate to working from home. However, employers are not ordering all employees stay home. The Coronavirus is revealing an ugly truth: inequality exists amongst an employer’s different worker castes. California employees in food preparation, office cleaning, security, and retail services are being forced to continue to work despite the global pandemic dangerous spread. San Francisco employees are protected by several employee rights to recover, or contend with COVID-19.
San Francisco Employees Shielded by Strong Paid Sick Leave Law
Nearly all San Francisco employees, including part-time and temporary employees, have paid sick leave. San Francisco Administrative Code § 12W.2. Under San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave law, employees working two or more hours per week accrue paid sick leave time at a rate of one hour for every thirty hours worked. Depending on the employer’s size, San Francisco employees may either cap out at 40 or 72 sick leave balance. Under San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Law, employees may take time off when ill, injured, or receiving medical care, treatment, or diagnosis. San Francisco Administrative Code § 12W.4.
Further, employees can use their San Francisco paid sick leave to care for a family member. San Francisco employers cannot retaliate against employees for using paid sick leave. San Francisco Administrative Code § 12W.7.
San Francisco Paid Sick Leave & the Coronavirus
On March 9, 2020, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement reaffirmed the use of San Francisco Paid Sick Leave for Coronavirus illness, recovery, and mitigation. An OLSE guidance stated San Francisco employers must allow San Francisco employees to use accrued paid sick leave in the following situations:
- The employee takes time off because public health officials or healthcare providers require or recommend the employee isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of Coronavirus;
- The employee takes time off because the employee is a member of a vulnerable population;
- The employee takes time off because the employee’s business or work ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation;
- The employee takes time off because the employee needs to provide care for a family member who is not sick, but requires isolation or quarantine; or,
- The employee takes time off work to provide care for a family member whose school, child, care provider, senior care provider, or work temporarily ceases operations in response to the Coronavirus.
In addition to exercising San Francisco Paid Sick Leave, San Francisco employees who are sick or quarantined due to the Coronavirus can file for disability insurance.
Who is a Member of a Vulnerable Population for Purposes of Exercising San Francisco Paid Sick Leave?
A vulnerable population is a person who is:
- 60 years or older;
- A person with a health condition such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease;
- A person with a weakened immune system. San Francisco Department of Public Health March 6, 2020 Guidance.
If you are a member of a vulnerable population, you may exercise your right to San Francisco Paid Sick Leave immediately. Your employer cannot deny your paid leave request, and you do not need to test positive for Coronavirus or receive a recommendation to isolate or quarantine yourself.
Can San Francisco Employers Require Employees Exercising Paid Sick Leave Find a Replacement Employee?
No, under the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, an employer cannot require an employee exercising paid sick leave rights to locate a replacement for coverage during the employee’s absence. San Francisco Administrative Code § 12W.4.
Can San Francisco Employers Require a Doctor’s Note or Other Documentation for Paid Sick Leave?
No, employers may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of San Francisco paid sick leave of three or fewer consecutive workdays.
California Paid Family Leave
Many San Francisco Employees are entitled to California Paid Family Leave. The California Paid Family Leave Act provides compensation to employees who take leave to care for an ill family member. The California Paid Family Leave Act applies to employers with 20 or more employees and covers any employee who:
- Earned $300 or more in wages during the preceding twelve months;
- Have the care recipient’s healthcare provider certify the need for care by completing a Certification; and,
- File a claim for Paid Family Leave benefits.
Covered employees may take up to six weeks, to be extended to eight weeks in July 2020, of paid leave to care for a relative who is sick or quarantined by the Coronavirus. Please note that an employee cannot take paid family leave for their illness.
If you are a San Francisco employee with questions about your rights under any of the laws discussed above, contact Astanehe Law to speak with an employment attorney.
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