Domestic workers like nannies and gardeners could soon start earning paid sick time in San Francisco.
The new bill would set up an app for domestic workers to log their hours with their employers. For every 30 hours worked with one employer, they would earn one hour of paid sick time that could accumulate to a full day off across all employers.
It's something that San Francisco law has covered for years now, but there has never been a way for domestic workers to prove they've earned the time.
"Employers don't even know they have this obligation," said Hillary Ronen, the city supervisor representing District 9 in San Francisco. "Many are individual homeowners and domestic workers. Whether they know or not, it's not practical for them to make use of this benefit in the workplace that they're entitled to."
"So if (the workers) became ill or their loved one their child became ill, got COVID for one reason or another, they had no choice. And they're the only choice was they either go to work, or if they don't go to work, they don't eat," said Kimberly Alvarenga, the director of the California Domestic Workers Coalition.
San Francisco is considering the new law as several other cities, including Philadelphia, have been pushing for more domestic worker rights.
Leaders in San Francisco hope the idea of banking time in an app for paid sick leave will expand to other benefits and act as a framework for other cities to follow.
"This portable benefit concept could really be expanded, not only to include other benefits for domestic workers, like potentially retirement funds or health care or other types of workplace benefits that other workers get that that they never received," Ronen said.
"The next phase will be this education and outreach to employers and the 10,000 domestic workers who work in the city of San Francisco," Alvarenga said. "If we can accomplish all these three phases, I think, we'll be in our on our way to to be in an example to other folks."
San Francisco's measure has already passed the board of supervisors and will likely be signed into law. The app is expected to be operational by late 2022 or early 2023.