Paid or Unpaid Sick Leave

What Is It?

The City provides paid sick leave as required by law and additional paid sick leave as a privilege of employment. Unpaid sick leave may be approved for employees who exhaust accrued sick leave and are unable to return to work. Sick leave is absence from work due to:

  • Inability to work due to the employee's own illness or disability
  • Medical and dental appointments
  • Pregnancy or convalescence period following childbirth
  • Bereavement
  • Other reasons identified in Civil Service Rules

Who Is Eligible?

Employees who accrue sick leave.

How Long Is the Leave?

Employees can use paid sick leave up to the maximum accrued hours for reasons identified in Civil Service Rules. Unpaid sick leave is subject to management approval.

Is the Leave Paid?

Sick leave is paid as long as an employee has accrued sick leave available. The use of unpaid sick leave and other accrued leaves, such as vacation, is discretionary unless required by law.

How Do I Request the Leave?

Employees must request sick leave following their department’s absence call-in procedures.  For absences continuing more than five workdays, complete and return a Request for Leave and Leave Protections form  to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor.

FMLA and CFRA: Leave for My Serious Health Condition

What Is It?

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the employee's own serious health conditionA serious health condition is defined in FMLA and CFRA regulation . Eligible employees cannot be denied this leave or subject to adverse consequences for taking the leave.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees with qualifying serious health conditions who have:

  • Been employed by the City for 12 months (need not to be continuous); AND
  • Worked 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave.

How Long Is the Leave?

FMLA and CFRA provide up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within a rolling 12-month period. If the leave is taken intermittently, or as a part-time schedule, the entitlement is converted to an equivalent number of work hours. Full-time employees may take up to 480 hours of protected leave (based on a 40-hour workweek).

FMLA and CFRA leaves generally run concurrently.

Is the Leave Paid?

FMLA and CFRA are unpaid. Employees may be required, or may elect, to use accrued sick leave, vacation, CTO and floating holidays. 

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request leave for an employee’s own serious health condition, complete and return Request for Leave and Leave Protections  and Certification of Healthcare Provider - Employee  forms to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor. Under certain circumstances departments may approve FMLA/CFRA leave without a written request.

Workers' Compensation: Job-Related Illness or Injury Leave

What Is It?

Workers' Compensation is a state-mandated benefit for workers injured on the job. Employees eligible for Workers' Compensation may be entitled to leave, medical treatment, temporary and/or permanent disability payments and supplemental job displacement vouchers.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees with work-related illness or injury are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits.

How Long Is the Leave?

The leave may continue as long as the employee is medically unable to resume his/her usual job,  or an available modified job, due to a work-related illness or injury, or until it is determined that the employee cannot return to work in any City job. Leave may be continuous or intermittent (for treatment) or taken as a part-time schedule.

Is the Leave Paid?

Workers' Compensation benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s salary up to a maximum set by law. Some injured employees may receive full salary for up to one year. Employees receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits may elect to use sick leave, vacation or other accrued leave to supplement the benefit up to, but not to exceed, their regular rate of pay.

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request Workers' Compensation benefits following an on-the-job injury or work-related illness, employees should complete and return a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1)  to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor. To learn more about Workers' Compensation, click here.

Reasonable Accommodation

What Is It?

Under California and federal law, employees may take unpaid, job-protected leave as a form of reasonable accommodation when needed due to an employee's qualifying disability.

An employee with a disability may need leave for a number of reasons including, but not limited to:

  • Obtaining medical treatment (e.g., surgery, psychotherapy, substance abuse treatment, or dialysis);
  • Rehabilitation services; or physical or occupational therapy;
  • Recuperating from an illness or an episodic manifestation of the disability;
  • Participating in training with, or caring for, a service animal;
  • Avoiding temporary adverse conditions created by the work environment that have an impact on the employee's impairment (e.g., construction, cleaning activities, inoperative heating/cooling system or elevator); or
  • Obtaining repairs on equipment used by the employee with a disability to perform major life activities, like a wheelchair, prosthetic device, or accessible vehicle.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees with a qualifying disability, including a pregnancy-related disability, may be eligible for leave as a reasonable accommodation. The leave must be reasonable and likely to help the employee return to work.

How Long Is the Leave?

The law does not require a specific duration for leave to accommodate an employee's qualifying disability. Each department has discretion to determine how much leave is reasonable under the circumstances.

Is the Leave Paid?

Leave as a reasonable accommodation is unpaid, however, an employee may be required, or may elect, to use accrued sick leave, vacation, CTO, and floating holidays during the leave.

Employees may qualify for wage replacement benefits such as State Disability Insurance (SDI) , Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance , Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) . Click on each wage replacement option to learn more.

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request leave as a reasonable accommodation, complete and return Request for Reasonable Accommodation  and Medical Authorization and Release  forms to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor. Under certain circumstances leave extensions may be approved as reasonable accommodations for ongoing incapacity without a formal request.

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking

What Is It?

Employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking are entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave to seek services that protect themselves and their children or to attend court proceedings. Services may include:

  • Medical attention for injuries;
  • Referrals to a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center
  • Psychological counseling;
  • Safety planning and other actions to increase safety from future domestic violence or sexual assault, including temporary or permanent relocation; or
  • Temporary restraining orders, permanent restraining orders or other injunctive relief.

You also have the right to reasonable accommodations that may keep you safe at work. Safety needs may include a new work phone number, a transfer, or a different schedule. You cannot be fired or retaliated against because you are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking are eligible for the leave.

How Long Is the Leave?

Departments should engage in discussions with employees to determine how much leave is reasonable.

Is the Leave Paid?

This type of leave is unpaid, however, an employee may be required, or may elect, to use accrued sick leave, vacation, CTO and floating holidays.

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request leave due to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, complete and return a Request for Leave and Leave Protections form  to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor. Employees may be required to submit documentation proving victimization. This information and related records will be kept confidential as required by law.

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking Resources

Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Leave

What Is It?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are sometimes considered disabilities. Employees recovering from addiction may request job-protected leave to participate in alcohol or drug rehabilitation programs. This type of leave may also be covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) if the employee is otherwise eligible and has a serious health condition.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees certified as disabled, or having a serious health condition, who voluntarily enter and participate in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program are eligible for leave.

How Long Is the Leave?

This leave is a reasonable accommodation generally based on the length of the program. However, each department has discretion to determine how much leave is reasonable under the circumstances. 

Is the Leave Paid?

Leave to participate in a rehabilitation program is unpaid, however, an employee may be required or may elect to use accrued sick leave, vacation, CTO and floating holidays.

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request leave for drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation, complete and return a Request for Leave and Leave Protections form  to a designated human resources representative, manager or supervisor. This information will be kept confidential as required by law.

Organ and Bone Marrow Donor Leave

What Is It?

The City and County of San Francisco provides paid, job-protected leave for employees to donate organs and bone marrow, similar to that provided in the California Labor Code.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees who donate an organ or bone marrow are eligible for the leave.

How Long Is the Leave?

If an employee donates an organ to another person, he or she may take a paid leave of absence for up to 30 work days in any one-year period. If an employee donates bone marrow, he or she may take a paid leave of absence of up to five work days in any one-year period.

Is the Leave Paid?

Yes. Employees donating organs may be required to use up to 14 days of accrued time off, and employees donating bone marrow may be required to use accrued time off to cover the entire leave. If an employee does not have sufficient accrued time off, then the City will pay the employee's salary for the entire leave.

How Do I Request the Leave?

To request organ or bone marrow donor leave, complete and return a Request for Leave and Leave Protections form  to a designated human resources representative, supervisor or manager. Employees may be required to submit proof that he or she is an organ or bone marrow donor and that there is a medical necessity for the donation.

Catastrophic Illness Program

What Is It?

The T.J. Anthony Catastrophic Illness Program (CIP) provides donated sick or vacation accruals to employees who are catastrophically ill or employees who have to care for a catastrophically ill family member. This program is open to donors as well as recipients. Employees may donate accrued sick leave or vacation to designated persons or to the CIP pool.

Who Is Eligible?

Employees who are:

  • Eligible to accumulate and use sick leave and vacation; AND
  • Catastrophically ill; AND
  • Exhaust all their available paid leave; AND
  • Excluded from participation in short or long-term disability programs the City pays for, either directly or indirectly.

If an employee does participate in such a disability program, the employee must apply for disability benefits immediately upon becoming eligible. 

How Long Can I Receive this Benefit?

The benefit will continue while donated sick pay and vacation accruals are available, and until the employee is eligible for long-term disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Is the Benefit Paid?

Yes, CIP is a wage replacement.

How Do I Request the Benefit?

To request CIP complete an application and submit it with supporting medical records to the City’s Department of Human Resources (DHR). Employees can find more information about the program below.

Forms: