San Francisco Increases Support for City Employees Impacted by COVID-19
City takes measures to ensure employees have adequate paid time off if needed as a result of COVID-19, and encourages private companies to implement similar policies
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced a new policy that will allow City employees who are impacted by COVID-19 to get early access to their vacation time and paid sick leave. San Francisco is leading by example by allowing workers an advance of their paid time off in the event that they cannot work due to COVID-19 and related public health recommendations. The City is encouraging private companies to be similarly flexible with their paid time off policies.
“The City is leading by example to slow the spread of COVID-19, and that includes allowing people to take time off if they are sick or need to take care of someone else,” said Mayor Breed. “Public health is our top priority, and we want people to be able to follow our public health recommendations without fear of not having enough vacation days or sick leave and missing a paycheck. While we can only make this change for City employees, we strongly encourage other companies in San Francisco to enact similar policies. We are all in this together and we want all employees to take care of themselves and their families, which means staying home if they are sick and following the advice of their doctor to self-isolate when necessary.”
“In this moment of public health crisis and great uncertainty for our city, I am appreciative of the Mayor’s leadership in thinking through flexible policies for city employees regarding sick leave and vacation time,” said Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. “Slowing the spread of COVID-19 to protect our most vulnerable residents must be our number one priority.”
“The City and County of San Francisco is working around the clock to implement every preventative measure possible to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” said Micki Callahan, Human Resources Director. “This new policy allows our employees to care for themselves and their families without fear of losing their income during this emergency. When employees who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, lack paid sick leave, it presents a great risk to our ability to protect the health of the public.”
On February 25th, Mayor Breed issued a Declaration of a Local Emergency, which allows the Mayor to order measures related to COVID-19. Yesterday, Mayor Breed issued a supplemental declaration outlining several measures to support small businesses and nonprofit organizations, and a measure to support City employees who need to take time off of work due to COVID-19.
If a City employee has exhausted all of their existing leave, including vacation days, floating holidays, and paid sick leave, and meets the criteria below, they can request an advance of sick leave or vacation up to 80 hours.
Eligible City employees:
- Members of vulnerable populations as defined in the Department of Public Health guidelines;
- People in self-isolation or quarantine on the advice of a medical provider or public official;
- People who are suffering from an acute respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms;
- People who need to care for a family member who meet the above criteria; and
- People who are otherwise directly impacted by the COVID-19 virus or actions taken in response to public health guidance.
The Department of Public Health has issued specific recommendations for workplaces and businesses, and all City departments are following those recommendations:
- Suspend nonessential employee travel;
- Minimize the number of employees working within arm’s length of one another, including minimizing or canceling large in-person meetings and conferences;
- Urge employees to stay home when they are sick and maximize flexibility in sick leave benefits;
- Do not require a doctor’s note for employees who are sick;
- Consider use of telecommuting options;
- Some people need to be at work to provide essential services of great benefit to the community. They can take steps in their workplace to minimize risk.