San Francisco made history in April when it passed the first city-mandated full paid parental leave ordinance. The law provided for 6 weeks of topped off benefits for employees bonding with a child during the first year after birth, adoption, or foster placement of a minor child. When a San Francisco employee receives California Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for bonding, the employer is required to supplement those benefits (“PPLO supplemental benefits”) so that the employee receives 100% of his or her normal weekly pay. The ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2017.

The amendment to the law, signed by the Mayor on September 14, makes technical changes to the language of the ordinance. Some revisions reflect the April change in the state PFL program that followed the passage of the San Francisco ordinance, while others provide clarification on employers’ obligations. The amendment:

  • Notes the amendments to the California PFL law increasing rates, thus lowering the PPLO supplemental compensation.
  • Prior to the change, the ordinance made clear that periods of unpaid leave would not count in the calculation of the weekly wage. The amendment clarifies that periods of partial pay will also not count in calculating the weekly wage.
  • Eliminates the provision that stated that the weekly wage is calculated based upon an average of weekly earnings for the entire period of employment for those employees who have worked for the employer for less than 26 weeks, and whose weekly wage fluctuates.
  • Removes the requirement that an employee with multiple employers provide the employer with a copy of Notice of Computation of California Paid Family Leave Benefits.
  • Clarifies that as a precondition to receiving PPLO supplemental compensation, the employee must, at the time of applying for the state PFL benefits, provide the State with written authorization to disclose the weekly benefit amount to the employer. This makes it clear that an employer’s duty to pay PPLO supplemental compensation does not arise until the employee has authorized the release of the California PFL weekly benefit information to the employer.
  • Reduces the period an employer must pay PPLO supplemental compensation when an employee is terminated. Previously, the obligation lasted through the “California Paid Family Leave Period”, which could be read to apply to PFL periods where the employee was not receiving benefits. The amendment clarifies that it only applies during the remainder of the period the employee is actually receiving PFL benefits.
  • Expands the period of rebuttable presumption of retaliation from 90 days from the employee’s request or application for benefits to 90 days from the date of employee’s notification of the intent to apply for the benefits.

The changes, which go into effect the same date as the law itself, should assist employers struggling to understand their obligations under the law, including determining exactly how much and when to pay employees PPLO supplemental compensation.  In addition to these clarifications, we anticipate rules and regulations from the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement prior to the effective date, in order to assist employers with their administration of the law.

San Francisco isn’t the only city making news in the leave world this week. On September 14, Morristown became the 13th town in New Jersey to require employers to provide paid sick leave for employees. The new ordinance goes into effect January 11, 2017, and contains the following provisions:

  • Covered Employers: All private employers are covered by the law.
  • Eligible Employees: Employees who work in the town of Morristown for at least 80 hours per year. Employees may use accrued paid sick leave on the 90th calendar day of employment.
  • Accrual: 1 hour for every 30 hours worked.
  • Maximum Use/Accrual: Employers with 1-10 employees: 24 hours maximum accrual and use.  All other employers, and all employers of child care, home health care, and food service workers: 40 hours maximum accrual and use.
  • Leave Reasons: 1) Employee’s or family member’s illness, medical care, diagnosis, preventive care, or treatment; 2) closure of place of business, school or place of care by a public official due to a public health emergency; and 3) care for a family member whose, upon determination by health authority, presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of exposure to communicable disease
  • Covered Family Members: Child (biological, adopted, foster, step, legal ward, child of a domestic or civil union partner, in loco parentis), parent (biological, foster, step, adoptive, legal guardian of employee or employee’s spouse, domestic or civil union partner or person who stood in loco parentis when employee was a minor), spouse, grandparent (or spouse, civil union partner, or domestic partner of grandparent), grandchild, domestic partner, or sibling.
  • Employer Posting and Notice: Employer written notice and posting requirement.

Did you know ReedGroup’s LeaveAdvisor product analyzes in depth each local sick leave law, with links to ordinance and regulations? Let us help you stay up to date on your leave law obligations to your employees. For more information, and access to a free trial, please click here.

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