Coronavirus: San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes public health emergency leave measure

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco officials have taken major steps to extend benefits to those who work for large companies here in the city.

On Tuesday, the board of supervisors passed a public health emergency leave measure that pays employees who are sick or caring for the sick for up to 14 days. It specifically helps those employees who are part of a large company of 500 people or more. Smaller and midsize companies are already covered by a federal measure but this closes a final loophole.

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Supervisor Gordan Mar of District 4 says 200,000 people could benefit from this public emergency leave measure that was just passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and is now on the mayor's desk for her signature.

"If you're a large employer, you have a greater amount of responsibility to your employees and that is the first step right now by providing those two weeks of paid public emergency leave," says Kung Feng of Jobs with Justice San Francisco.

The emergency leave covers 14 days of paid leave. It includes those who have tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus, or someone who may have to care for a family member like a child or senior.

Travis Dennen is an essential worker in San Francisco. He is employed by Workday, which already gives employees incentives. He hopes that these city-wide ones aren't abused.

"I think it's great what they're doing in San Francisco and San Jose. However, there's always going to be those people that are going to take advantage of the system."

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ABC7 News contributor and SF Chronicle insider Phil Matier says there are still a number of questions about this new emergency measure.

"What we have here is an extra two weeks for health or child care, and that's where it is going to be interesting because schools are going to be closed until the end of the school year and that's a whole period -- so the question is, does that cover this as well?"

The mayor is expected to sign this measure, San Jose has already passed a similar item, and Oakland could soon be the third major Bay Area city to follow if it implements the same policy.



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