Most employees in San Francisco (and across California) receive one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. The San Francisco Board of Directors is now considering an ordinance that would expand the availability of paid sick leave for domestic workers through the establishment of a “portable” paid sick leave system.
The ordinance “Equal Access for Domestic Workers to Paid Sick Leave through a Portable System” would oblige every domestic worker employer, including individual households, to provide their workers with paid time off through a portable benefit system.
According to the current version of the proposed regulation, a domestic worker is a person who provides work or services in a dormitory and looks after a child; serve as a companion or provide other non-medical care or services to an ill, convalescent, disabled, or elderly person; Cleaning, cooking, providing food or butler service, gardening, personal organization, or other personal or domestic services at home. A domestic worker also includes a natural person who, as part of their employment relationship or contract, lives at the personal residence of the user company.
A “hiring entity” is defined as any person who, directly or indirectly, or through an agent or other person, including through the services of a temporary employment agency or recruitment agency, contracts or employs a domestic worker.
According to the proposal, a hiring agency provides paid sickness benefits regardless of the domestic worker’s job grade. The domestic worker would then acquire a paid sick leave entitlement in a manner similar to that of other workers, i.e. at least one hour of net wage at the worker’s regular wage rate for every 30 hours worked for the hiring company.
The paid sick leave entitlement would accrue in units of the hour, but the funds would not be transferred from the hiring facility to the domestic worker until the domestic worker applies for the paid sick leave allowance. The hiring agency would be responsible for any tax withholding or tax reporting obligations for the contribution at the time of transferring the sick pay. Hiring companies may not interfere with or refuse to exercise any right protected by this new regulation, nor may they take adverse measures against domestic workers who are exercising their right protected under this new regulation.
If passed, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development would be tasked with developing and managing the portable paid sick leave system to minimize the administrative burden for the hiring facility and domestic workers. The system tracks the hours worked by each insured worker for a hiring institution and net wage rates, and calculates the accrued entitlement to paid sickness benefits. The system also coordinates the transfer of funds from one or more entities from which the right to paid vacation was acquired.
If passed, the regulation would only come into force in 2022.