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San Francisco to make sure home staff receives a commission sick time

San Francisco has guaranteed paid sick leave to all workers in the city for nearly 15 years. Now she wants to make sure the city’s 10,000 or so domestic workers have a real shot at receiving the benefit.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed an ordinance creating a transferable benefits system that would allow workers to combine hours from multiple employers to count towards their sick pay.

What will likely be a mobile app is being developed to count hours and due dates and help workers and those who hire them make their arrangements, according to Hillary Ronen, the supervisor who introduced the new rule along with California’s Domestic workers has written coalition.

“Under current law, all San Francisco workers are entitled to paid sick leave based on hours worked,” Ronen told her fellow board members before voting 11-0 to approve the measure. “Although they have the right to paid sick leave, in reality very few domestic workers have access to this benefit.”

San Francisco law, which went into effect in February 2007, requires employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. But the hours worked for different jobs could not be included in a single count, so working 15 hours for one household and 15 hours for another would not result in an hour’s sick time.

Domestic workers can work for up to 20 different employers each month, making accumulated paid sick leave unattainable. Additionally, the people who hire housekeepers, caregivers and landscapers may not even be aware of sick leave policies or how they operate.

The difficulties were particularly acute with COVID-19, so many Low earners continued to work even while they were sick because they needed the paycheck, according to work advocates.

The new regulation was welcomed Wednesday by Mujeres Unidas y Activas, or MUA, a grassroots organization of Latina immigrant women based in San Francisco.

“We hope that San Francisco’s portable power system will serve as a model for other cities in the Bay Area and for the rest of the state,” the group said. “Making bailout accessible is not just a matter of equity, it’s also part of our vision for the future of the domestic work industry.”

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