Supe proposes ballot measure to extend paid sick leave during emergencies

Plan would ensure workers get two additional weeks during public health crises

San Francisco Supervisor Gordon Mar on Tuesday proposed a ballot measure to ensure workers will continue to get two extra weeks of paid leave during public health emergencies.

At the start of the pandemic, Mar authored an emergency measure granting some 200,000 city workers at private companies with more than 100 employees an additional two weeks of paid sick leave to ensure essential workers who might have contracted COVID-19 to have enough time to recuperate and return to work.

If ultimately approved by the Board of Supervisors and placed on the June 2022 ballot, Mar’s measure would ensure the additional paid sick leave remains available during public health crises, including unhealthy air days. The measure would continue to exempt small businesses.

“As the pandemic enters its third unrelenting year and we face a new surge from the omicron variant and a renewed need to isolate, we also face a grim reality — while the pandemic did not end, many of the emergency policies addressing it did. Meanwhile, climate change continues to exacerbate our wildfire seasons, and future fires may be more dangerous than any before,” Mar said in a statement.

“We need laws that reflect the urgency and the grave reality of these threats and provide safety and security in the face of them. We need Public Health Emergency Leave now, and we’ll need it in the future. We need this for working people, and we need it for public health,” he said.

To be placed on the ballot, at least six of the 11 supervisors will need to vote for the measure. If placed on the ballot, the measure would need a simple majority from San Francisco voters to be approved.

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