Large grocery store and drug store chains will need to continue paying hazard pay to employees through June under city legislation approved Tuesday. (Shutterstock)

Large grocery store and drug store chains will need to continue paying hazard pay to employees through June under city legislation approved Tuesday. (Shutterstock)

SF extends $5 hourly hazard pay for grocery, drug store employees until June 15

Despite opposition from large grocers, San Francisco extended a law Tuesday to require they continue to pay their employees an additional $5 per hour in hazard pay for nearly 30 more days.

Starting March 20, large grocery and drug stores were required to pay their employees the hourly hazard pay under legislation previously approved by the Board of Supervisors with an end date of May 19.

But the board unanimously approved legislation introduced by Board President Shamann Walton to extend the required $5 hourly pay until June 15, when Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to fully reopen the state’s economy and lift the state’s COVID-19 tier restrictions.

“Things are getting better in most areas, but we are still in a local declared emergency and the pandemic is still upon us,” Walton said, adding that these employees have “continuously worked hard through this pandemic to make sure that all of us continue to have access to food, supplies, basic necessities.”

City officials had said many stores did provide some form of hazard pay at the start of the pandemic last year but discontinued it last summer.

At the outset, the California Grocers Association, a trade group representing thousands of grocery stores in the state, opposed the hazard pay law in San Francisco and similar ones in other cities and even filed lawsuits against some cities to try and overturn them.

San Francisco’s law applies to grocery stores and drug stores with 500 or more employees worldwide. Store employees entitled to the hazard pay include janitors and security guards. The current minimum wage in San Francisco is $16.01.

The grocers trade group has argued that pay should be left up to the individual stores to determine and warned that costs would be passed onto consumers. Most recently, the group argued hazard pay was not justified since San Francisco moved into the state’s least restrictive COVID-19 yellow tier, when spread of the virus is considered minimal.

Walton, however, said that surrounding Bay Area counties remain in the state’s second least restrictive tier “and we know that residents travel between counties to go to work or to shop.”

The United Food and Commercial Workers labor union, which represents grocery employees, said the stores have had record profits during the pandemic and without these types of laws the money would not be seen by the workers who deserve the additional pay for the health risks they are exposed to when interacting with the public.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsPoliticssan francisco news

Just Posted

Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led a late-game comeback against the Packers, but San Francisco lost, 30-28, on a late field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)
The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based vendor, is under contract to supply voting machines for elections in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/Examiner file)
Is San Francisco’s elections director impeding voting machine progress?

Open source technology could break up existing monopoly

Health experts praised Salesforce for keeping its Dreamforce conference at Moscone Center outdoors and on a small scale. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Happy birthday, Marc Benioff. Your company did the right thing

Salesforce kept Dreamforce small, which made all kinds of sense

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved to be too much for the Niners in a Week 3 loss to Green Bay. It was San Francisco’s home opener for the 2021 season. (Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers.)
Week 3 NFL roundup: Packers victory over 49ers caps off a stellar Sunday

By Tyler Dunne New York Times Here’s the Week 3 roundup of… Continue reading

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, pictured with Rose Pak in 2014, says the late Chinatown activist was “helping to guide the community away from the divisions, politically.”
Willie and Rose: How an alliance for the ages shaped SF

How the Mayor and Chinatown activist shaped San Francisco, then and now

Most Read