San Francisco passes “Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance”

By unanimous vote, the Board of Supervisors for the City and County of San Francisco passed the San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance. Beginning January 1, 2014, San Francisco employers will now be required to consider employee requests for “flexible or predictable working arrangements to assist with caregiving responsibilities.”

The employee may request such arrangements to care for (1) a child under the age of eighteen, or (2) a family member with a serious health condition, or (3) a parent, aged 65 of older.  Family members include spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and grandparents.  Flexible workplace arrangements include, but are not limited to, modified work schedules, changes in start and/or end times, part-time employment, job sharing arrangements, working from home, telecommuting, reduction or change in work duties, or part-year employment.

Within 21 days of the request, the employer must meet with the employee regarding the request.  The employer must respond to the request within 21 days of the meeting.  If the employer denies the request, it must do so in writing, and must identify a “bona fide business reason” for the denial.  The employer must also provide the employee with notice of the employee’s right to request reconsideration of the request.

In addition, San Francisco employers must post a notice informing employees of their rights under the ordinance.

Importantly, an employer may not discharge, threaten to discharge, demote, suspend, or take any other adverse employment action against an employee for invoking their rights under the ordinance.

The ordinance applies to employers with at least 20 workers, and to workers who have been with their current employer for six months or more, and who work at least eight hours per week on a regular basis.

Worker advocates and businesses alike will no doubt watch with curiosity as the long-term effects of San Francisco’s new law unfold.  For more information on this new law, please contact your labor law counsel.

By Jake White | November 25, 2013

Legal Developments