Supes float plan to help working families

Three San Francisco supervisors joined a coalition of working family advocates this week in sponsoring an initiative for the November ballot that will give workers the right to request a predictable work schedule from their employer.

The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, sponsored by supervisors David Chiu, Eric Mar and Malia Cohen, aims to allow parent and caregiver workers the flexibility to care for their families and is the first of its kind in the nation.

Supervisor Chiu, in a statement, addressed the problem of family flight in San Francisco:

 “This proposal will make it less likely that San Franciscans will be in the difficult situation of having to choose between their jobs and the well-being of their children and loved ones.”

If passed, the ordinance would prevent employers from discriminating or retaliating against workers who request a predictable or flexible work schedule to attend to their caregiver duties.

Companies that deny their workers requests would be required to respond in writing stating the reason for the denial.

Hina Shah, co-director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law and member of the coalition advocating for workers rights said in a statement:

 “Flexible working arrangements should not be the privilege of those that work in high-status jobs. This ordinance will allow all workers who have caregiving responsibilities the protection necessary to request and negotiate flexible working arrangements.”

The proposed ordinance provides some flexibility for businesses by outlining an undue hardship clause that allows businesses to deny a workers request.

Also, businesses with fewer than 10 employees would be exempt from the law. Employees would need to work for an employer for at least six months before gaining the right to request flexible or predictable schedules.

The Board of Supervisors has until July 30 to schedule hearings, propose amendments and make changes to the proposed ordinance before it appears on the November ballot.