FFWO Overview

   

Listen to David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, speak about the FFWO at an educational forum, November 13, 2013.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu proposed the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance (FFWO) in early 2013. He acted with the support of family advocacy groups who thought that requiring employers to accept requests for flexible schedules free of risk would help make the city more family-friendly. It was modeled on approaches taken in Britain and Australia, and is summarized on the Office of Labor Standards FFWO website:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance on October 8, 2013. This new citywide law is operative as of January 1, 2014. This ordinance gives certain employees the right to request a flexible work arrangement and gives the employer the right to refuse for legitimate business reasons.

The FFWO requires that employers with 20 or more employees allow any employee who is employed in San Francisco, has been employed for six months or more by the current employer, and works at least eight hours per week on a regular basis to request a flexible or predictable working arrangement to assist with caregiving responsibilities. The employee may request the flexible or predictable working arrangement to assist with care for:

1. a child or children under the age of eighteen;
2. a person or persons with a serious health condition in a family relationship with the employee; or
3. a parent (age 65 or older) of the employee.

Within 21 days of an employee’s request for a flexible or predictable working arrangement described above, an employer must meet with the employee regarding the request. The employer must respond to an employee’s request within 21 days of that meeting.

An employer who denies a request must explain the denial in a written response that sets out a bona fide business reason for the denial and provides the employee with notice of the right to request reconsideration.

The ordinance will be publicized by the city’s Commission on the Status of Women and enforced by the OLSE. Enforcement of the required process will be through warnings and “notices to correct” in 2014, and through fines starting in 2015.

      

Within this procedural framework, it is possible to encourage a broader and deeper approach to flexible scheduling. Offering it to employees who are not caregivers and enhancing acceptance of proposals by emphasizing the business value of working differently are themes throughout this site.

      

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