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The City Provides Paid Sick Leave for Workers Impacted by Coronavirus

News Release

San Francisco, CA – Today, Mayor London N. Breed announced a Workers and Families First Program to provide paid sick leave to private sector workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan will include $10 million in public funding that will provide businesses with funding to provide an additional five days of sick leave pay to workers beyond their existing policies.

The Workers and Families First Program will reduce economic impacts on San Francisco workers and businesses caused by coronavirus, and encourage employees to stay home when they are sick or caring for a family member. If fully used, this program would support over 16,000 additional weeks of sick leave pay, providing coverage for up to 25,000 San Francisco employees.

“Public health comes first in this crisis, but we know that many people have less flexibility to stay home and keep paying their rent if they do get sick,” said Mayor Breed. “We want everyone to know that staying home to take care of themselves and their families is the most important thing they can do, not only for their own health but also to slow the spread of this virus in our community. By providing more paid sick leave to our workers, San Francisco can help us make sure people are making the right choices to help us all get through this crisis.”

The Workers and Families First Program will provide City financial assistance to businesses and nonprofits to provide additional paid sick leave time to employees, over and above their existing policies. All San Francisco businesses will be eligible, with up to 20% of funds reserved for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The City will contribute up to one week (40 hours) at $15.59 per hour (minimum wage) per employee, or $623 per employee. The employer will pay the difference between the minimum wage and an employee’s full hourly wage.

This program will be available only if the employee has exhausted their currently available sick leave, has exhausted or is not eligible for federal or state supplemental sick leave, and the employer agrees to extend sick leave beyond current benefits. The program will be available for employees to use pursuant to San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance and the March 9, 2020 guidance issued by San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE), or any subsequent guidance released by OLSE, including when employees are:

  • Sick,
  • Self-quarantined to prevent spread,
  • Caring for a sick family member,
  • Home because of a temporary work closure in response to a public official’s recommendation, or
  • Caring for a child who is home because of school/daycare closures in response to a public official’s recommendation.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Human Services Agency will jointly administer the program. For more information on the Workers and Families First Program go to www.oewd.org.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, but it is also a calamity for the businesses and employees hardest hit by our mitigation efforts,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “I want to thank Mayor Breed for the Workers and Families First Program and her broader package of efforts to address the economic hardships facing so many San Franciscans at this difficult time.”

“Staying home when you’re sick should not be a luxury, and paying for sick leave during this crisis should not be a burden on our small businesses,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “We need a national law ensuring paid sick leave for all workers. But despite being in the midst of the worst health crisis in US history, Republicans have whittled down the much-needed federal response and are putting profits over public health. I am proud that San Francisco is setting a model for the nation.”

“San Francisco is going to do everything in its power to support our workforce through this crisis,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Federal and state paid sick leave dollars are absolutely critical, but as a City, it’s also important that we step up now to support our workers who can’t be at work and who are home caring for themselves and their families. We’re going to get through this, and when we do, we need our workforce healthy and on its feet and ready to jumpstart our City again.”

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we work to fulfill the Human Services Agency’s mission of providing support for people in need,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director, Human Services Agency. “We are proud to partner with OWED to provide working people in San Francisco with paid sick leave.”

The City has launched efforts to support small businesses include deferring business taxes and licensing fees, launching a relief fund for impacted businesses, supporting nonprofits funded by the City so workers don’t lose their incomes, working with partners in the philanthropic and private sector, and advocating for state and federal support for workers and businesses. This includes the www.Give2SF.org fund, where donations can be made to support both small businesses and individuals impacted by coronavirus. The City launched a website to serve as a one-stop-shop for all resources, contacts, and updates for small businesses: www.oewd.org/covid19.

Mayor Breed also announced a policy allowing public workers an advance of their paid time off in the event that they cannot work due to COVID-19 and related public health recommendations.

Public Health Orders and recommendations from the San Francisco Department of Public Health can be found at sfdph.org/dph/alerts/coronavirus.asp. Mayoral Declarations regarding COVID‑19 can be found at sfmayor.org/mayoral-declarations-regarding-covid-19. You can also call 311 and sign up for the City’s alert service for official updates: text COVID19SF to 888-777.

Remember, these are the best ways for all San Franciscans to reduce their risk of getting sick, and preventing COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like a wave.
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.
  • There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick.

You can also prepare for the possible disruption caused by an outbreak:

  • Prepare to work from home if that is possible for your job and your employer.
  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family.
  • Prepare a child care plan if you or a caregiver are sick.
  • Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure.
  • Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.
  • Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.
  • Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.

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Contact info

Mayor’s Office of Communications
(415) 554-6131