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San Francisco Passes Measure Requiring Sick Depart for Home Staff – “First of Its Variety” | Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

On December 14, 2021, the San Francisco Board of Directors unanimously passed a law granting domestic workers paid sick leave – the first of its kind in the United States. The ordinance entitled “Equal Access for Domestic Workers to Paid Sick Leave” provides for a “portable” paid sickness benefit that enables people working for multiple households to receive, consolidate, and distribute benefits from multiple “hiring organizations” To access paid vacation they switch between jobs.

How will this work for domestic workers? According to the regulation, domestic workers are entitled to paid sick leave of at least one hour’s net wage at the regular wage of the domestic worker for every 30 hours worked. Both the hiring agency and the domestic worker are responsible for reporting the number of hours worked and the net wage to the “paid sick leave system”. While the entitlement to sickness benefit increases in hourly units, the funds are not transferred from the hiring facility to the domestic worker until the domestic worker applies for the funds. In addition, the hiring institution is responsible for any withholding tax deduction or tax reporting obligations for the contribution at the time of transferring the sick pay.

This ordinance is expected to affect the approximately 10,000 San Francisco domestic workers who work in private households. A “domestic worker” within the meaning of the ordinance is any person who is employed by a hirer or who has concluded a contract with a hirer for the provision of workers or services in a residential building:

  • Taking care of a child; to serve as a companion or the provision of other non-medical care or services to a sick, convalescent, disabled or elderly person;
  • Cleaning, cooking, providing food or butler service;
  • Gardening;
  • personal organization;
  • or providing other personal or domestic services at home.

A “domestic worker” also includes a natural person who lives at the personal place of residence of the user company as part of their employment relationship or contract. The ordinance defines a “hiring entity” as any person within the meaning of Section 18 of the California Labor Code, including officers or officers, who, directly or indirectly, or through any agent or other person, including through the services of a temporary employment agency or recruitment agency, or a similar organization that employs, contracts, or hires a domestic worker. Once it goes into effect, the program will be administered by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, which has also been tasked with making it easy to create an app to track performance and transfer funds from a hiring facility to a domestic worker .

The regulation requires a second vote by the board of directors and the signature of the Mayor of London Breed before it comes into force. The regulation is expected to come into force in 2022 when these additional steps are taken. San Francisco domestic workers should consult their employment advisor to ensure they are complying with the ordinance once it goes into effect.

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