San Francisco, CA: Emergency Protections for Workers Who Test Positive for COVID-19


All Employers with San Francisco, CA Workers and Applicants


September 11, 2020


Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

An emergency ordinance implemented September 11, 2020 now offers temporary protections to workers and job applicants who test positive for COVID-19, as well as those who are currently or have previously isolated due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure.  These protections apply to workers or applicants within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, inclusive of independent contractors who have performed at least 16 hours of work for the employer.

Under the emergency ordinance, employers are prohibited from taking adverse action (e.g., discharging or threatening to discharge, suspending, disciplining, reducing benefits, etc.) against workers who are absent, unable to work, or request time off from work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, exposure, or past or present quarantine, regardless of whether or not the worker is eligible to take paid or unpaid leave under any employer, state, or federal benefit program.

Similarly, employers may not count absences or inability to work for COVID-19 related reasons in any disciplinary or other adverse employment actions.  On the other hand, an employer may not allow a worker who has experienced symptoms of or been confirmed to have a COVID-19 infection to return to work unless the worker is consistent with the Local Health Officer’s return-to-work guidance.

For applicants, employers are prohibited from rescinding an employment or contract offer based on COVID-19 related reasons. If an applicant cannot start work because of COVID-19 related reasons, the employer is expected to reasonably accommodate the applicant by scheduling a later start date.

This temporary ordinance expired 61 days after enactment, unless reenacted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Action Items

  1. Read the text of the emergency ordinance here.
  2. Train supervisor staff and hiring managers on the expanded protections for COVID-19 related absences.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2020 ManagEase

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