Caregiving Could Be the Next Protected Class: Sonya Goodwin’s article for The Recorder

by Sonya Goodwin

What a difference a pandemic makes. Since March 2020, the federal government, state of California and various local jurisdictions have implemented varying forms of protections for employees who were unable to work because they had to care for a child or family member due to illness or school/child care closures related to the coronavirus. While many of these protections expired in 2021, California reinstated limited protections until Dec. 31.

But long before offices across the state were shuttered and workers learned to telecommute to their jobs, San Francisco expected companies to facilitate alternative work arrangements for employees with family obligations. In 2014, San Francisco showed remarkable foresight when it enacted the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance. The ordinance called upon employers to address the unique needs of workers with family obligations, providing accommodation to parents juggling childcare duties and workers caring for elderly parents.

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