In April, Mayor London Breed signed a new ordinance into law, providing paid sick leave for certain employees in the Bay Area for reasons relating to COVID-19. The Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) went into effect immediately and is intended to strengthen employee rights beyond those set by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
There are many different regulations going into effect regarding sick leave rights during the pandemic, and it is important to know whether PHELO applies to you. This specific ordinance applies to employees who:
- Work for a company with 500 or more employees
- Perform work in the City or County of San Francisco for 56 hours or more per year
- Live in San Francisco and perform work from home for 56 hours or more per year
- Work outside of San Francisco, but make deliveries or otherwise work within San Francisco for 56 hours or more per year
This applies to employees who are full-time, part-time, seasonal, temporary, or even furloughed. However, if your employer terminated your employment, you will no longer be eligible for paid sick time under this ordinance.
It is important to remember that paid sick leave under PHELO is in addition to any other paid time off provided or offered by the employer prior to the date the law went into effect.
When Can You Use Paid Leave Under PHELO?
Paid sick leave is available under San Francisco’s ordinance if you are a qualified employee and are unable to work or telework for any of the following reasons:
- You are subject to quarantine or social isolation due to a government health order
- You are providing care for a family member who is quarantined or socially isolated due to a government health order
- You are deemed high risk and are recommended to quarantine by government health orders
- Your healthcare provider advised you to self-quarantine, or you are providing care for a family member advised to self-quarantine by a healthcare provider
- You are experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis or providing care for a family member experiencing symptoms
- You are providing care for a minor child who lost school or childcare due to COVID-19-related closures
If your employer denies you paid leave for any of the above reasons, they might be violating your rights under the law. You should discuss the matter with an experienced employment lawyer who can advise you of your options to obtain the payment you deserve.
Consult with a San Francisco Employment Law Attorney
At the Cartwright Law Firm, we know that this can be a confusing time to be working, and it can be difficult to know your rights under all of the changing laws. Our team of San Francisco employment law attorneys is ready to provide advice and guidance about your rights, as well as trusted representation if your rights have been violated. Contact us online or call (415) 433-0444 for more information about how we can assist you.