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SF to vote on making paid leave permanent

Gordon Mar represents the Outer Sunset on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. (Photo courtesy of the city and county of San Francisco)

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously decided to place a measure on the June ballot that would make paid leave for workers during public health crisis permanent.

Previously, paid leave for workers during public health emergencies was made available as an emergency ordinance during the COVID-19 pandemic, granting some 200,000 workers citywide an extra two weeks of paid leave.

If approved by voters, the paid leave would apply to other public health emergencies, including unhealthy air due to wildfire smoke.

The new measure would also apply to employees of private companies with 100 or more workers and apply to a broad range of instances, including workers who are sick, need to isolate, or need to take care of a sick family member.

Supervisor Gordon Mar, who represents the Outer Sunset neighborhood on the city’s highest legislative body, authored both the previous emergency ordinance and the newly proposed ballot measure.

“No person should have to choose between being able to pay their rent, or going to work with a contagious and deadly disease. No parent should have to choose between a paycheck or sending their sick child to school. By giving voters the chance to extend Public Health Emergency Leave for this and future emergencies, we will be showing that we’ve learned some lessons from this pandemic, and we’ll be more prepared for the next one,” he said.

“Essential workers have borne the brunt of this pandemic, and they need real protections to take care of themselves and their families. Public Health Emergency Leave is a common-sense policy to protect workers and workplaces,” San Francisco Labor Council Executive Director Kim Tavaglione said.

With the Public Health Emergency Leave now secured for the June ballot, the measure will need the majority number of votes in order to pass, Mar’s office said.

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