Report: Sick leave to cost $9.3M a year

Controller’s study paints costs for city should voters pass mandated paid days

City government costs will increase by as much as $9.3 million a year if voters approve a ballot measure in November that would mandate paid sick leave for all employees, according to a city report.

A coalition of workers’ advocacy groups and union members managed to obtain four signatures from city supervisors in order to put on the Nov. 7 ballot Proposition F, which would require all employers in San Francisco to provide paid sick days for their workers. The coalition estimates that in San Francisco there are 100,000 employees, mostly those in the hotel and restaurant industry, without paid sick leave.

Part-time city workers and child care providers under city contract do not receive paid sick leave, and neither do workers in The City’s In-House Supportive Services Program, which provides care for seniors and disabled persons. The cost to provide sick leave for these workers would be about $9.3 million a year, a City Controller’s Office report said.

Supervisor Chris Daly, who signed on to the measure, said the fact The City does not provide sick leave, and not the cost, should “raise eyebrows.” He added that employees “working under the auspices of The City are not getting paid time off.”

Daly argues, as do other proponents of the ballot measure, that the cost of providing paid sick leave would be recovered, saying paid sick leave reduces worker turnover and optimizes productivity. It’s estimated that the ballot measure would cost city businesses $33.5 million a year.

“[The cost] will not even out,” said David Heller, president of the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchants Association, which is opposing the ballot measure. “I think it’s going to be devastating to have that kind of a rule.”

The ballot measure would require businesses with more than 10 employees to offer nine paid sick days a year and businesses with less than 10 workers five sick days a year.

There are two other local measures on the ballot that would increase city spending.

The City’s salary costs would go up by $207,000 a year if voters approve Proposition C, which would reset the base salaries of seven city positions. The sheriff would see the largest salary increase of about $55,200, the controller’s report said. The sheriff’s salary this year is $137,506.

The City will also incur a cost if voters approve Proposition B, which allow members of the Board of Supervisors and commissions to participate in meetings via teleconferencing when physically unable to attend due to pregnancy, childbirth or adoption. Video-conferencing equipment would cost The City as much as $200,000, the controller’s report said.

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