San Francisco restaurateurs may get more time to comply with paid sick leave mandate

SAN FRANCISCO Restaurateurs and other employers may get more time to comply fully with a new paid sick leave ordinance scheduled to go into effect here Monday.

San Franciscovoters had approved the law in the November ballot, making the city the first municipality or public entity to mandate sick pay for workers. The ordinance calls for employees, both full and part-time, to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers with 10 or fewer workers must offer as many as five paid sick days per year, per employee. Larger employer must offer up to nine days per year.

The law however has caught several businesses by surprise and many have raised questions about how to administer the program. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has been receiving several calls a day from members about the new law, said Kevin Westlye, executive director of the 800-member trade association.

Because of the concern expressed by businesses, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd submitted legislation this week to the Board of Supervisor to grant a 120-day transition period for employers to incorporate the new regulations into their payroll systems. If approved the legislation would give employers until June 5 to pay employees for time taken off from work due to illness.

The employers must still track employee hours and employees can still take off from work if they are sick, said Rebekah Krell, spokeswoman for Elsbernd.