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Two New San Francisco Ordinances Go Into Effect In 2018

October 4, 2017 | Ghazaleh Modarresi
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For San Francisco employers, two new local ordinances relating to lactation accommodation and requests for salary history will go into effect in 2018.

“Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance”

Beginning January 1, 2018, San Francisco will increase existing protections for nursing mothers working within the geographical boundaries of the city.  The Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance applies to all employees, including part-time employees.

In addition to complying with existing laws which require employers to provide employees reasonable break time and a private location other than a bathroom to express breast milk, the Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance further requires that the area must:  be safe, clean, and free of toxic or hazardous materials; have a surface to place a breast pump and other personal items; provide a place to sit; and have access to electricity.  The Ordinance also requires employers to provide access to a refrigerator and a sink with running water in close proximity to the employee’s work area.  Where multi-purpose rooms are also used for expressing breast milk, the use of the room for expressing milk will take precedence over other uses.

Additionally, the Ordinance requires employers to maintain and distribute a written lactation accommodation policy, which must include information on employees’ right to request lactation accommodation and how to request an accommodation.  The policy must be included in the employee handbook or set of policies that the employer makes available to employees. Not only must the policy be distributed to new employees upon hire, but also when an employee inquires about or requests parental leave.

Employer must respond to an employee’s request for accommodation within 5 days and will have to keep records relating to accommodation requests for three years.

The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) will enforce the ordinance and issue warnings and notices to correct in 2018.  Beginning January 1, 2019, the OLSE may issue determinations and penalties.

“Parity in Pay Ordinance”

Beginning July 1, 2018, the Pay Parity Ordinance will prohibit employers registered to do business in San Francisco from:

  • Inquiring about an applicant’s current and past salary history; or
  • Considering an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining what salary to offer an applicant.  This prohibition applies even if, absent an inquiry from the employer, the applicant discloses salary history to the employer.
  • Refusing to hire, or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history to the employer.
  • Releasing the salary history of any current or former employee to that person’s employer or prospective employer without written authorization from the current or former employee.

However, applicants are permitted to voluntarily disclose their salary history following an employer’s initial salary offer in order to negotiate a different salary.

The OLSE will also enforce the Pay Parity Ordinance and issue warnings and notices to correct for the first year.  Beginning July 1, 2019, the OLSE may issue determinations and penalties and also possibly refer a matter to the City Attorney, who may initiate a civil action.

A similar statewide salary history bill is currently pending in the Legislature.

 

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If you have any questions about how this development may impact your business, please contact Ghazaleh Modarresi, Esq., Employment Law Attorney, at ghazaleh.modarresi@berliner.com or (408) 286-5800.

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