Under the ‘family friendly workplace ordinance’, brought forward by supervisor David Chiu (pictured), parents and carers would have the right to request flexible working arrangements. Businesses could only refuse if the measure would cause “undue hardship” to the company financially or in its ability to meet client and customer commitments.
The proposal would go before voters in November if it gathers support from the board. If successful San Francisco would help pave the way for other US states to introduce flexible working legislation. To date attempts to pass flexible working laws at a federal level in the US have failed.
Chiu used the UK as an example of the system he would like to see introduced. He said: “What I’ve introduced is a modest common sense law which would allow employees to have the right to request a flexible work arrangement, such as changing the start and end times of work shifts, part-time schedules, part year schedules, and job share.”
Chiu added: “The experience in other countries has been extremely positive. In Britain in the first year after this law passed, one million parents requested flexible working arrangements. Nearly all of these requests were granted with little opposition by employers. In fact, these same countries are considering expanding the right to request to all employees. In addition to the clear benefit to employees, employers have found that allowing flexible working arrangements increases worker satisfaction, loyalty and productivity, decreases worker absenteeism and turnover, and thus helps to control costs and help with the bottom line.”
Chiu was supported by supervisor Eric Mar, who added: “It’s a policy that will help us reduce the car trips and advance our city’s aggressive clean air policies as more people telecommute or try other alternatives and workplaces allow more flexibility in work hours.”
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