Proposed San Francisco Ordinance to Require Paid Sick Leave for Domestic Workers

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Most employees in San Francisco (and throughout California)  receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is now considering an ordinance that would broaden the availability of paid sick leave to domestic workers by establishing a “portable” paid sick leave system.

The “Domestic Workers’ Equal Access to Paid Sick Leave Through a Portable System” ordinance would require any employer of domestic workers, including individual households, to provide their workers with paid time off through a portable benefits system.

Under the current version of the proposed ordinance, a domestic worker includes an individual who provides labor or services in a residence caring for a child; serving as a companion, or providing other non-medical care or services for a sick, convalescing, disabled, or senior person; cleaning, cooking, providing food or butler service, gardening, personal organizing, or performing other in-home personal or domestic service. A domestic worker also includes an individual who as part of their employment or contract resides in the personal residence of the hiring entity.

A “hiring entity” is defined as any person who directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person, including through the services of a temporary service or staffing agency contracts with or hires a domestic worker.

Under the proposal, a hiring entity shall without regard to the employment classification of the domestic worker, provide paid sick leave funds. The domestic worker would then accrue a right to paid sick leave in a manner similar to other employees, i.e. not less than one hour of net pay, at the worker’s regular rate of pay, for every 30 hours of work for the hiring entities.

The right to paid sick leave would accrue in hour-unit increments, but the funds would not be transferred from the hiring entity to the domestic worker until the domestic worker requests the paid sick leave funds. The hiring entity would be responsible for any tax withholding or tax reporting obligations for the contribution at the time the paid sick leave funds are transferred. Hiring entities may not interfere with or deny the exercise of any right protected under this new ordinance, nor may they take any adverse action against any domestic worker who exercises their right protected under this new ordinance.

If passed, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development would be tasked with developing and administering the portable paid sick leave system in an effort to minimize administrative burdens for the hiring entity and domestic worker. The system will track each covered worker’s hours worked for a hiring entity and net pay rates and calculate the accrued right to paid sick leave funds. The system will also coordinate the transfer of funds from one or more hiring entities from which the right to paid leave has accrued.

The ordinance would not be operative until sometime in 2022 if passed.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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