Listen to David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of
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
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
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.
The pioneering SF nonprofit New Ways to Work began
introducing flexibility into organizations four decades
Today New Ways sponsors Collaboration@Work, a project
supporting superior implementation of the new “Right to
It collaborates with employers, government and employees
to build a more flexible San Francisco.
The City’s Office of Labor Standards
Enforcement enforces the new law. This official site
hosts the law, forms and official information.