City to help pay for sick leave for private workers

San Francisco will provide funding to private businesses to offer their employees an additional week of paid sick time off, Mayor London Breed announced Monday morning.

The City will provide $10 million in public funding to help business owners shoulder the cost of offering their employees five more sick days if they run out of all their sick leave.

The announced Workers and Families First Program is to encourage workers to stay home when they are sick to slow the spread of the virus or to stay home and help care for sick family members.

The program could fund more than 16,000 weeks of added sick leave for up to 25,000 workers, according to the announcement.

“Public health comes first in this crisis, but we know that many people have less flexibility to stay home and keep paying their rent if they do get sick,” Breed said in a statement. “We want everyone to know that staying home to take care of themselves and their families is the most important thing they can do, not only for their own health but also to slow the spread of this virus in our community. By providing more paid sick leave to our workers, San Francisco can help us make sure people are making the right choices to help us all get through this crisis.”

Twenty percent of the funds are reserved for small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. The City will pay for up to one week, 40 hours, per employee, at $15.59 per hour, the current minimum wage, or $623 per employee. The business owner pays the difference between the minimum wage and the employee’s full hour wage.

The City will provide the funding only if the employee has used up all their accrued sick leave and if they are not eligible for federal or state supplemental sick leave.

The employer would have to agree to additional time off. A worker is eligible if they are sick, self-quarantined and caring for a sick family member. The worker is also eligible if they are caring for a child who is home because of the public school closures.

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