The San Francisco Mayor approved a new city ordinance to require private employers to pay employees who are military reservists and are called for military duty the difference between their military salary and their salary as employees, for up to 30 days in a calendar year, and to create procedures for implementation and enforcement of this requirement. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance in December 2022, and it will go into on February 19, 2023.
Under this Act an “Employee” means any employee of any Employer who works within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco, including but not limited to part-time and temporary employees, and who is a member of the reserve corps of the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, or other uniformed service organization of the United States.
And “Employer” means any person, as defined in Section 18 of the California Labor Code, including corporate officers or executives, who directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person, including through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of an employee and who regularly employs 100 or more employees, regardless of location. “Employer” shall not include the City or any other governmental entity.
And “Military Duty” means active military service in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, international terrorism, the conflict in Iraq, or related extraordinary circumstances, or military service to provide medical or logistical support to federal, state, or local government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, or engagement in military duty ordered for the purposes of military training, drills, encampment, naval cruises, special exercises, Emergency State Active Duty, or like activity.
However the law shall not apply to Employees covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement to the extent that such requirements are expressly waived in the collective bargaining agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.
If the Employee, having received Supplemental Compensation under this law and being fit for employment in their previous position upon release from Military Duty, does not return to their position with the Employer within 60 days of release from Military Duty, the compensation may, at the Employer’s option, be treated as a loan payable with interest in the manner specified in the Act.
If after an administrative hearing it is found that any Supplemental Compensation was unlawfully withheld, the dollar amount of Supplemental Compensation withheld from the Employee multiplied by three, or $250, whichever amount is greater, shall be included in the administrative penalty paid to the Employee.
And quite similar to the California Public Attorney General Act (PAGA) the City, or any person or entity acting on behalf of the public as provided for under applicable State law, may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the Employer or other person violating this new law. And any person or entity enforcing this Act on behalf of the public as provided for under applicable State law shall, upon prevailing, be entitled only to equitable, injunctive or restitutionary relief, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Background and Findings used to justify passage of the Act claims that as of 2022, there were over 600,000 United States military reserve and National Guard personnel serving. Military reserve and National Guard personnel face many challenges when they serve dually as civilian workers and in the uniformed services, including employment discrimination, income insecurity, financial stress, service-related injuries, mental stress, and suicide.
The United States has made efforts to protect the income and employment security of such personnel. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. Ch. 43, military reserve and National Guard personnel are protected from employment discrimination on the basis of their service and are guaranteed civilian reemployment rights following military service.
State and local laws also protect the income and employment security of military reserve and National Guard personnel. Under California Government Code Sections 19775 and 19775.1, state employees granted military leave are eligible for paid leave for the first 30 calendar days of active duty served during the absence. California Military and Veterans Code Sections 395.01, 395.02, and 395.03 grant other public employees up to 30 calendar days of pay while on military leave.
In this case, plaintiffs are Ventura County, California firefighters and law enforcement officers who (except for one plaintiff) are members of two unions, the Ventura County