Domestic workers

San Francisco passes measure demanding sick leave for domestic workers

On December 14, 2021, the San Francisco board of directors unanimously passed a law granting domestic workers paid sick leave, the first of its kind in the United States. the order, called “Equal Access of Domestic Workers to Paid Sick Leave”, establishes a “transferable” paid sick leave allowance that allows people who work for multiple households to earn and consolidate the benefits of multiple “hiring entities” and access those paid holidays when they move between jobs.

How will this work for employers of domestic workers? Under the ordinance, domestic workers are entitled to paid sick leave equal to at least one hour of net pay, at the domestic worker’s regular rate of pay, for 30 hours of work. Both the hiring entity and the domestic worker are required to report the number of hours worked and the net rate of pay to the “paid sick leave system”. While entitlement to sick leave funds accumulates in unit hour increments, funds are not transferred from the hiring entity to the domestic worker until the domestic worker requests the funds. Additionally, the hiring entity is responsible for any withholding tax or tax reporting obligations for the contribution at the time the paid sick leave funds are transferred.

This ordinance is expected to affect the roughly 10,000 domestic workers in San Francisco who work in private homes. Under the order, a “domestic worker»Includes any person who is employed by or contracts with a hiring entity to provide labor or services in a residence:

  • take care of a child; act as a companion or provide other non-medical care or services to a sick, recovering, disabled or elderly person;

  • cleaning, cooking, providing food or butler service;

  • gardening;

  • personal organization;

  • or perform other personal or domestic services at home.

A “domestic worker” also includes a person who, by virtue of his employment or contract, resides in the personal residence of the hiring entity. The ordinance defines a “hiring entity“as any person, as defined in section 18 of the California Labor Code, including officers or officers of a business, who, directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person , including through the services of a temporary services agency or recruiting agency or similar entity, employs, contracts or engages a domestic worker.Once in effect, the program will be administered by the San Francisco Bureau of Economic Development and Workforce, which was also tasked with facilitating the creation of an app to track benefits and transfer funds from a hiring entity to a domestic worker.

Before going into effect, the ordinance requires a second supervisory board vote, as well as the signature of the Mayor of London Breed. The ordinance is expected to come into force in 2022 if these additional measures are taken. Employers of domestic workers in San Francisco should consult with their employment counselor to ensure they are complying with the ordinance once it becomes law.

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 364