Help is on the way!
The City of San Francisco has pledged to assist businesses and non-profits with paying for an additional 40 hours of paid sick time for private-sector workers affected by COVID-19.
Under the Workers and Families First Program, announced on Monday, March 16, by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the City will pay up to 40 hours per employee at $15.59 per hour (minimum wage), or $623 per employee. For employees who earn more than this rate, the employer will cover the remaining cost. The program covers employees “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 City of San Francisco also announced a policy allowing public workers affected by COVID-19 to use their paid time off before it is accrued. It also temporarily amended the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to prohibit employers from requiring employees to produce a doctor’s note to use paid sick leave for absences related to COVID-19. The website of the City's Office of Economic and Workforce Development is useful for keeping up with the City’s efforts to assist businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.
The California Employment Development Department has also stepped in to absorb some of the COVID-19 impact. Those who are unable to work due to the coronavirus can file a claim for disability insurance, which provides short-term benefit payments to those suffering full or partial wage loss due to a non-work-related illness. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order waiving the weeklong unpaid waiting period. Eligible individuals can collect benefits for the first week they are out of work. They can also file claims for Paid Family Leave and Unemployment Insurance if they miss work to care for an ill or quarantined family member, to care for a child whose school has been closed, or because of reduced work hours.
The EDD also provides resources to employers negatively affected by COVID-19, including those that have reduced the number of employee hours or facing potential closures and layoffs. Here’s a link to the EDD’s coronavirus webpage for more information.
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