California Domestic Workers Coalition

Cheryl Hurd

Carolina Morales came to this San Francisco from Venezuela in 2001, and for about a decade she worked as a nanny and remembers going to work sick. “Many times, definitely more than 30 times,” she said. During that time she wishes she had access to sick leave. “Having any actual physical pain for domestic work, it would be so important to have actual time off,” said Morales.

On Wednesday, San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen will introduce an ordinance that would give domestic workers, such as nannies and house cleaners, equal access to paid sick leave. “What the legislation does is it directs the office of economic workforce development to contract with a company to create an app,” she said. That app will be used by the domestic worker and the employer to keep track of hours worked, Ronen said. “Technically, under our laws, each individual employer is responsible to pay sick leave; most employers don’t realize they have that obligation,” said Ronen.

The app would also keep track of how much money an employer should put into a pot for sick leave. That comes in handy when a domestic worker has multiple clients. Ronen said an ordinance is crucial during the pandemic when so many lost their jobs overnight, having to quarantine.