Press Release

Press Release: Public Health Emergency Leave Legislation Passed by SF Board of Supes

Board of Supervisors Unanimously Passes Public Health Emergency Leave

New benefit for 200,00+ San Franciscans will go into effect immediately, pending approval from the Mayor

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt emergency legislation by Supervisor Gordon Mar to immediately provide two additional weeks of paid leave for hundreds of thousands of San Francisco workers. 

“San Francisco led the nation when we created our paid sick law in 2006, and we are ready to lead again to protect working people,” said Mar. “Where our federal government is falling short, cities and states have a moral responsibility to lead. Economic justice and public health are inextricable. When our neighbors can afford to take the time off they need, we are all better off.” 

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides 14 days of paid leave (80 hours). The emergency ordinance authored by Supervisor Mar closes a major loophole in the federal law by ensuring the city’s large employers also provide paid leave of 14 days to their employees. 47% of private sector workers in the US are not covered by the federal law which exempts large employers over 500 employees. Over 200,000 workers in San Francisco will benefit from Public Health Emergency Leave.

“I’ve worked as a security officer for 13 years. I do crowd control for banks, hospitals, and other essential businesses in San Francisco. I am putting my health on the line whenever I help someone in a wheelchair get through the bank doors,” said Keven Adams, security officer and member of United Service Workers West. “If I was exposed to the virus, I would be forced to choose between making rent or going into quarantine. No essential worker should be forced to make that choice.”

Every San Francisco employee of a private employer with 500 or more employees is covered by the new benefit, including furloughed and temp workers. Public Health Emergency Leave has a broad range of eligible uses, including if workers have to stay home to take care of a family member, if their place of work closes and they can’t work remotely, if they’re a member of a vulnerable population, are showing symptoms, or if their doctor recommends they not work. 

“While we take shelter, we must also take care of frontline and furloughed workers, and take action to help people stay both physically and economically healthy,” said Mar. “Economic policy is public health policy. We are only as healthy as our neighbor, our grocery store clerk, our frontline essential workers, and if they can’t afford to stay home when they need to, we are all worse off.”

In addition to Supervisor Mar, the emergency ordinance was co-sponsored by Supervisors Matt Haney, Hillary Ronen, Rafael Mandelman, Ahsha Safai, and Shamann Walton. It was supported by a broad range of organizations, including Jobs With Justice San Francisco, the San Francisco Labor Council, SEIU-USWW, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. 

As an emergency ordinance, it requires no further votes, and will be in effect as soon as approved by the Mayor, who has indicated support for the measure. A companion piece of legislation expanding paid leave for healthcare providers will follow for a vote next week. 

_______________________________________________ is sponsored in part by:

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