November ballot measure would mandate worker paid
Photo(s) by Sean Posey
By Pat Murphy
August 10, 2006
Voters will decide in November whether to mandate employer paid
sick days for all employees in San Francisco.
If approved by voters, San Francisco would become the first city
in the nation to require paid sick days, according to a group
calling itself the Coalition for Paid Sick Days.
Representatives of the group accompanied four members of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday to file the ballot
proposal with the Elections Department.
They include Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Sophie Maxwell,
and Ross Mirkarimi.
Both Ammiano and Daly appeared in an 11:00 a.m. Union Square
press conference as coalition members called for measure passage.
Garment industry workers are now afraid to get sick, reported
Alex Tom, a spokesman for the Chinese Progressive Association.
"This is a huge issue," stated Tom.
The Chinese Progressive Association's Alex Tom recalls a restaurant
worker hiding in the bathroom to take medicine.
"We represent garment workers and restaurant workers of
the working class Chinese community.
"People are afraid of retaliation, fearful that if they
are sick and tell their employers that they will be fired."
Tom recalled one worker hiding her need for medication from an
"This worker was so afraid of being fired for being sick
that she was in the bathroom taking her medicine," stated
Diners are impacted by being served from sick restaurant workers,
"There are actually a lot of people who work while they
"This... impacts the wellbeing of the worker but also people
who eat at the restaurant."
According to the coalition, the ballot measure would provide
paid sick days for workers to care also for parents and legal
guardians, siblings, children, spouse or registered domestic partners,
grandparents, and one designated person not included in those
Categories refer to biological, adopted, and foster family relationships,
according to the coalition.
The ballot measure details how paid sick days would be accrued:
-- Every worker in San Francisco shall accrue one hour of paid
sick leave for every 30 hours workers.
-- New workers shall start accruing sick leave after a three
month probation period.
-- Sick day accrual has a cap of nine days or 72 hours for businesses
with more than 10 employees.
-- Sick day accrual has a cap of five days or 40 hours for small
businesses, defined as ten or under employees.
-- Employees may use sick hours to miss part of a shift to attend
-- In the case of a union contract the legislation has a collective
-- Accrued leave may carry over from year to year but employers
are not required to provide more than 72 hours (or 40 hours for
small businesses) to workers.
-- Workers may not cash-out or be reimbursed for unused hours
upon the termination or resignation of employment.
-- The law goes into effect 90 days after election certification.
-- Employers are not required to provide additional sick leave
or modify existing leave policies if a sick leave policy is already
in place which meet ballot measure requirements.