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Employees, employers embrace S.F. paid leave ordinance

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in FMLA Guidelines

Employees and employers alike have embraced San Francisco’s generous paid sick leave law, according to a new survey by the nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

The law, enacted in 2007 after being approved by San Francisco voters, requires employers to credit workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Employees of organizations with at least 10 employees can take up to nine paid sick days per year; employees of smaller organizations can take up to five paid sick leave days.

Workers may use the paid leave when they are sick, need to visit a health care provider or care for family members or a “designated person.”

About 69% of workers surveyed by the IWPR claimed they “needed” paid sick days at their jobs, while 31% said they did not. The report—San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Outcomes for Employers and Employees—showed the greatest need among single mothers and workers with chronic health conditions.

But the survey also found that many workers had not used all or any of their sick days. Thus, the report concluded that, “If this pattern holds in future years, the law’s restriction on days that can be carried over from year to year implies that employees will never use and employers will never pay for many paid sick days” earned under the ordinance.

In terms of employer profits, the survey showed that only one in seven employers—mainly in the hospitality, construction, retail and wholesale trade industries—reported that the law had a negative effect on profitability.

To download the IWPR report, visit www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/San-Fran-PSD.

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