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San Francisco increases employee rights in 2014

What will the New Year bring in San Francisco? By way of employee rights protection, more support for employees who also double as caregivers outside of the office. A new ordinance applies specifically to an employee who has an obligation to assist with the care of a domestic partner or spouse, a child, a grandchild, a sibling or a parent.

Certain stipulations apply. The employee has to have been employed at the company for a minimum of six months, and they have to maintain at least an eight-hour, regularly scheduled, workweek. If you meet these requirements and have a family member that needs assistance, you may be in luck. Your employer is required to honor your right to request a change enabling you to meet your familial responsibilities.

In a utopian society, this could mean finally achieving a healthy work-home balance. Employees would no longer have to choose between putting food on the table or personally attending to the care of their loved ones. This ordinance should mean that both are achievable. But not every employer follows required laws. And often employees refrain from making requests they are legally entitled to make, for fear of backlash from their employer. They may fear losing an income their family desperately needs.

What is important to remember is that laws cannot work for you if you do not take advantage of what they offer. It is unlikely your employer will remind you that you have these rights. It is up to you to make the requests that will serve the best interests of you and your family. If you are met with resistance, you should not be deterred but should instead seek the counsel of an employee rights attorney. They can assist with any protection from retaliation that you may require in the pursuit of your legal rights.

Source: HR.BLR.com “Family friendly workplaces in San Francisco, stalking added to victims’ leave law,” Susan Schoenfeld, Dec. 27, 2013

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