June 22, 2024


The Legal System

Reminder: San Francisco’s Family Friendly Workplace Amended Ordinance Takes Effect July 2022


On July 13, 2022, San Francisco’s amended Spouse and children Helpful Place of work Ordinance (FFWO) goes into influence.  All companies who carry out company and have staff performing in the City and County of San Francisco or employees who telework, will have to have to comply with the FFWO.  It gives employees the correct to request “flexible or predictable operate arrangements” to assist with caregiving duties.  The modification produces substantial alterations to the current FFWO – it enlarges the scope of an employer’s obligation below the ordinance, when also creating it simpler for staff to obtain modified routine arrangements so they can correctly operate and conduct their caregiving obligations with relative ease.  Lined companies should really consider be aware of these adjustments to prevent scrutiny from the San Francisco Business office of Labor Specifications Enforcement (OLSE) and costlier penalties.

FFWO’s Adoption and Objective

The FFWO now offers selected workforce who act as most important caregivers the suitable to request adaptable or predictable function arrangements to help with caregiving tasks. The ordinance was adopted and approved in Oct 2013, and has been in impact due to the fact January 1, 2014. 

The Operative FFWO

Below the operative FFWO, when a included employer[1] receives a prepared ask for from a covered personnel[2] for a adaptable or predictable functioning arrangement[3], so that they may act as a caregiver[4], the included employer is presently demanded to:

  • Fulfill with the requesting personnel in 21 days of the ask for. 
  • Reply to the employee’s ask for in producing, possibly approving or denying the request within 21 days (or lengthier by agreement) right after assembly with the personnel.
    • If the request is granted, the employer need to validate the arrangement in writing.
    • If the request is denied, the employer should provide a “bona fide enterprise reason” for the denial and notify the employee of their legal rights to request reconsideration under the ordinance.
  • When requesting reconsideration (inside 30 days of the selection), the employer need to meet with the requesting personnel in 21 days of getting it.  The employer ought to then approve or deny the request in crafting within just 21 times of meeting the personnel.  If the request is being denied, the employer should state its causes for the choice.

The FFWO also features normal prohibitions versus retaliation and interference notice needs and the prerequisite to retain documentation linked to any staff requests produced (3 a long time from when the ask for was produced).  It also incorporates administrative enforcement and penalty provisions, which include but not minimal to $50 penalties for every single working day on which an employee’s legal rights are violated.  The OLSE also has the authority to bring a civil action versus a violator and look for suitable legal and equitable reduction to solution a suspected violation and recuperate the attorneys’ costs and prices.

The Amended FFWO: Significant Modifications Companies Want to Be Informed Of

The amended FFWO will grow to be operative on July 13, 2022.  Commonly, it makes it simpler for staff to attain and sustain a “flexible or predictable performing arrangement” and expands the standards of a included staff to involve much more employees.  Covered businesses should be informed of the adhering to noteworthy variations to the amended ordinance to ensure ongoing compliance:

  • Care for Persons Age 65 or More mature Expanded: Less than the operative FFWO, a protected personnel who seeks a “flexible and predictable perform arrangement” to assist them with the care of a human being age 65 or more mature without having a critical wellness issue, will have to be a parent.  With the modification, an employee caregiver to any individual age 65 or older and in a family members marriage with the staff will now qualify for modified function arrangements.
  • Coated Workers to Involve Teleworkers Residing Outside the house the City: The amended ordinance will consider a coated employee to incorporate personnel who telework outside of San Francisco, if their protected employer maintains an office environment or worksite inside of San Francisco exactly where the worker might do the job, or was permitted to function from in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Included Personnel Now Have a Right to a “Flexible or Predictable Operating Arrangement” Until It Triggers Undue Hardship to the Employer: The operative FFWO provides included staff members with the appropriate to request a “flexible or predictable doing the job arrangement.”  Below the amended FFWO, protected employees will have the suitable to a modified arrangement – rather of distributing a prepared “request.”  Employees will be expected to submit instead, a prepared “notice.”  Upon receipt of the “notice,” a lined employer will require to answer to it by:
    • Possibly (1) the employer may perhaps elect to meet with the staff within just 14 days (alternatively than the 21 days less than the operative legislation), and/or (2) the employer should reply inside of 21 times of receipt of the “notice” (alternatively than acquiring a utmost whole of 42 days to render a choice under the operative ordinance).

The employer’s reaction must be comprised of the adhering to:

  • Agreement or
  • Disagreement with the proposed arrangement, but then ought to have interaction in an interactive process with the employee to determine an acceptable arrangement or
  • Deny the employee’s need to have for a modified function arrangement (following exhausting the interactive procedure), but only if granting it would lead to the employer undue hardship (i.e., important economic or operational pressure).  The employer should then make clear in a created response, the explanations for denial.  Portion of the clarification will have to include things like the identifiable expenditures immediately prompted by the proposed arrangement (e.g., cost of productiveness decline, retraining or using the services of, transfer of staff, and so on.).  Companies are not essential to do so beneath the latest ordinance.
    • On denial, businesses need to however notify an worker of their correct to request reconsideration, but should also inform the staff of his/her proper to file a criticism with the OLSE
    • The employer ought to supply a final decision to a reconsideration ask for in producing in 14 times just after a conference has occurred (fairly than 21 times underneath the operative regulation). 
    • If the ask for is denied, the employer must clarify the undue hardship it will deal with by approving the ask for, and then again notify the staff of his or her legal rights to file a criticism with the OLSE.

Businesses should especially note that underneath the operative FFWO businesses have large discretion in granting an employee’s ask for, so extensive as they have a bona fide small business rationale.  On the other hand, the amended FFWO limitations employer discretion due to the fact they will both have to agree to an employee’s proposed operate arrangement, or if it disagrees, must interact in an interactive course of action which should really in the end consequence in a modified perform arrangement, except it will lead to undue hardship – a stricter typical to justify denial as opposed to a bona fide organization motive

Even though this will unquestionably develop more burdens for the employer, it also strengthens a provision which will assist to control any personnel abuse underneath the amended legislation.  When the operative FFWO allows an employer to involve verification of an employee’s caregiver standing, the amended provision will enable employers to require an staff to attest or verify their caregiver position prior to agreeing to a versatile or predictable perform arrangement.

  • Modifying an Accepted “Flexible and Predictable Get the job done Arrangement”:  Under the operative ordinance, employers might unilaterally revoke an presently current arrangement, so prolonged as they give 14-days’ written recognize.  The amended ordinance will need both equally employer and personnel to mutually agree to an altered arrangement by utilizing the interactive process, only if the employer establishes continuing the existing arrangement would bring about it undue hardship.  If the interactive process is unsuccessful, only then may well an employer unilaterally revoke the existing arrangement with 14-days’ written discover.
  • Costlier Penalties: The penalty provisions are costlier underneath the new amended ordinance.  The new penalty provision permits the OLSE to demand violators to pay back the charge of treatment the worker whose rights have been violated incurred thanks to violation if that expense is higher than the $50.00 penalty plan now in effect.  Likewise, the OLSE will also be able to recuperate its total expenses for investigating and remedying the violation if people prices are increased than the present-day $50.00 penalty scheme.


Less than the amended FFWO, lots of protected businesses will deal with larger issues in the sort of fiscal prices in protecting their functions.  For that reason, covered employers must consult with knowledgeable lawful counsel regarding compliance with the amended FFWO. 

[1] A covered employer is outlined as any particular person or business enterprise who often employs 20 or far more workers, no matter of the employee’s place.

[2] A lined personnel is outlined as any individual who regularly functions at the very least 8 several hours for each 7 days and is used in the geographic boundaries of San Francisco by a lined employer for at the very least 6 months.

[3] A flexible or predictable doing the job arrangement is described as alterations to an employee’s get the job done hours, do the job location, and/or obligations (e.g., predictable agenda, telecommuting, reduction or adjust in work obligations, etc.).

[4] A caregiver is described as the main contributor to the ongoing care of (a) a kid (b) individuals with really serious wellness circumstances in a spouse and children partnership with the worker or (c) a guardian(s) above the age of 65.


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