By Daniel Kim and Michele Haydel Gehrke

The San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, which we discussed in an earlier blog here, allows employees to request “flexible or predictable working arrangements” to care for their loved ones — a child, sick family member, or an elderly parent.  Despite having just gone into effect with the start of this new year, the city ordinance has already undergone an amendment “clarifying” that its reach actually encompasses employers all across the world.

As of February 14, 2014, the amendment clarifies that the ordinance covers employers with 20 or more employees anywhere.  What this means is that even if the San Francisco location of an employer has relatively few employees, if the employer has 20 or more employees anywhere else in the world, the Ordinance applies and those employees working in San Francisco are entitled to the benefits of the Ordinance.

Flexible working arrangements (modified work schedule, job sharing, changes in start/end times, working from home, telecommuting) requested under this new Ordinance are only available to employees who have worked for the employer for a minimum of 6 months and who regularly work at least 8 hours per week.  Within 21 days of the employee’s request, the employer is required to meet with the employee regarding the request and issue a response within 21 days of that meeting.  If the response is a denial, the employer is required to set out the bona fide business reason for the denial in writing and to provide notice of the employee’s right to request reconsideration.

More information, including the official notice of this new ordinance, is available on the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement’s website.

Seyfarth Shaw has developed template forms and policies employers can use to comply with the Ordinance.  Contact the authors of this blog or your favorite Seyfarth attorney for more information.

Also: Stay tuned for next week when we will discuss San Francisco’s brand new Fair Chance Ordinance, signed February 17, that limits employers’ and contractors’ usage of criminal background checks in screening their workers.

Edited by Chelsea Spuck