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San Francisco issues guidance on sick leave law


SAN FRANCISCO--The city of San Francisco has issued guidelines for its new Paid Sick Leave Ordinance that take effect Tuesday.

The ordinance, passed by voters in November, requires all employers in the city to provide employees with at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees can begin accruing sick leave beginning 90 days after the start of employment.

Occasional employees who perform at least 56 hours of work in the city--such as out-of-state lawyers who perform trial work in San Francisco--are also eligible to accrue paid sick leave under the ordinance.

Under the rules that the city released Monday, employers with fewer than 10 employees can cap paid sick leave at 40 hours annually per worker. At larger employers, the cap is 72 hours per year.

In addition, employees may use their paid sick leave for themselves or to care for family members, including registered domestic partners. Employees without a spouse or partner may use the leave to care for a "designated person," such as a roommate or neighbor.

The guidelines also restrict when employers can require doctor's notes from employees who are absent. Under the rules, employers can only require a doctor's note from employees who miss more than three consecutive days of work, take time off for a medical appointment or show a pattern of abusing sick time.

The guidelines, initially issued in January, were amended after the city's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement held several public hearings and received comments from business associations, employers and employees.