September 20, 2020

Volume X, Number 264

September 18, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 17, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

San Francisco Clarifies Back to Work Ordinance Requirements

In July, San Francisco’s Back to Work ordinance went into effect.  The ordinance requires employers operating in San Francisco to offer reemployment to eligible employees laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related stay at home and shelter in place orders issued by the City of San Francisco when they are rehiring for the same or similar classifications.

Recently, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the agency charged with enforcement of the ordinance has published a webpage for the ordinance, which includes model notices as well as a Frequently Asked Questions page.

The FAQ page clarifies several areas of the ordinance.

Covered Employees

The FAQ states that eligible workers are those who were employed at a worksite located in San Francisco for at least 90 days during the prior calendar year and who were laid off due to the COVID-19 emergency on or after February 25, 2020.

Employer Obligations

The FAQs provide the following detailed information about employer obligations under the ordinance:

  1. Provide notice to eligible employees including those laid off between February 25, 2020, and the effective date of the ordinance. The FAQ provides for an unofficial safe harbor, which indicates that notice must be sent no later than September 6, 2020, for those layoffs that occurred prior to the effective date of the ordinance.
  2. Make reemployment offers to laid-off workers in order of seniority if the employer is hiring for the same or similar position.
  3. Provide notice to the Office of Economic and Workforce Development of layoffs of 10 or more employees within 30 days of when the layoffs begin. As with notice to employees, this notice includes layoffs that occurred prior to the effective date of the ordinance. Similarly, there is an extended period until September 6, 2020, to provide notice to the City.
  4. Retain records of all information e.g., layoffs and offers of rehire for two years.
  5. Reasonably accommodate and not discriminate against a worker with a family care hardship as defined in the ordinance.

Offers of Reemployment

The FAQs state an employer is not required to offer reemployment to a laid-off eligible worker if:

  1. The employer learns after the lay-off that the eligible worker engaged in any act of dishonesty, violation of the law, violation of a policy or rule of the employer, or other misconduct while employed.
  2. The employer and the worker executed a severance agreement due to a lay off between February 25, 2020, and July 3, 2020.
  3. The employer laid off an eligible worker between February 25, 2020, and July 3, 2020, and hired another person for the laid-off worker’s position prior to July 3rd.
Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 227


About this Author

Stephanie Yang, Wage, Hour, Attorney, Jackson Lewis Law Firm

Stephanie T. Yang is an Associate in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Yang represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and breach of employment contract claims. She also counsels employers on all areas of employment compliance.

In 2012, Ms. Yang’s trial motions and briefs contributed to two defense verdicts in Orange County. In 2013, Ms. Yang obtained a partial summary judgment in a hotly litigated disability discrimination matter. In 2015...


Amy P. Frenzen is an Associate in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.  Her practice focuses on representing employers in wage and hour class actions and other workplace law matters.  She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Frenzen practiced general commercial litigation at a large national firm, including defense of software and hardware developers in contract disputes. She also worked in commercial regulatory affairs at a major biotech company, and in the Products Liability practice group of a large national firm defending pharmaceutical manufacturers against claims of unfair trade practices, off-label promotion, personal injury, and wrongful death in state and federal courts around the country. Ms. Frenzen also has experience advising large corporations, nonprofits, and political action committees on various political compliance issues, including campaign finance, lobby disclosures, and government ethics.

While pursuing her law degree, Ms. Frenzen was on the staff of the University of San Francisco Law Review and a Literary Editor of the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal. She also served as a legal extern with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program; and received a CALI Award in Administrative Law.


  • Class Actions and Complex Litigation
  • General Employment Litigation
  • Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity