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229 1 . i n t r o d u c t i o n The best labor laws are only as good as the enforcement that supports them. Nevertheless, enforcement considerations are often an afterthought , and adequate enforcement is far from a given. San Francisco’s employer mandates stand out not just for their strength and breadth as written but also for the City’s commitment to on-the-ground enforcement . While living wage laws have been widely adopted by jurisdictions across the country, their enforcement is uneven. A review in eighty locations classified more than half of living wage laws as having “narrow” implementation: no full-time staff person assigned to administer the law or answer questions and no monitoring of compliance unless a E I G H T Enforcement of Labor Standards Miranda Dietz, Donna Levitt, and Ellen Love 230 m a k i n g t h e m a n d a t e s w o r k complaint is filed. Implementation in only a few cities—14 percent of the sample, San Francisco among them—was classified as “expansive.” In these cities, implementation was characterized by knowledgeable and accountable staff, data collection and monitoring processes that support evaluation and improvement of original ordinance language, and a focus on public outreach and education (Luce 2005). As San Francisco’s set of employment laws has grown beyond the living wage, so too have its enforcement practices and policies continued to expand. Since 2000, San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has worked to make the City’s extensive laws meaningful in the lives of workers. OLSE also offers lessons for combating labor standards violations at any level. Components of OLSE’s enforcement strategy may provide a model for other agencies. Key components are education and outreach; building trust with workers; thorough , company-wide investigations; and cooperation with other departments . This chapter begins by describing OLSE’s mandate, resources, approach, and accomplishments, including a comparison with enforcement agencies elsewhere. Section 3 outlines OLSE’s efforts in education and outreach, including the role of community-based organizations, that are crucial to compliance and enforcement. Section 4 discusses the key components of OLSE’s strategy and illustrates their results with stories from the field. Section 5 concludes by looking at lessons for other jurisdictions and remaining challenges. 2 . o v e r v i e w o f s a n f r a n c i s c o ’ s o f f i c e o f l a b o r s t a n d a r d s e n f o r c e m e n t The OLSE Mandate The City of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement was founded in 2001 in response to union concerns that the City’s purchasing department, in charge of enforcing public works construction contracts, was motivated to complete projects on time and on budget but without regard for enforcing prevailing wage laws. The office’s three employees e n f o r c e m e n t o f l a b o r s t a n d a r d s 231 began with the narrow mandate to enforce these laws. Between 2001 and 2007, San Francisco adopted a series of innovative new labor laws, and OLSE’s mission and staff expanded. OLSE now enforces seven local labor laws and has an annual budget of $3 million that includes eighteen positions: a manager, fifteen investigators (or contract compliance officers), a clerical position, and an analyst . The budget also supports three professional services contracts—for labor law outreach and education, for a web-based system used by contractors and departments for submittal of certified payroll records, and for monitoring factory conditions in the global supply chains that produce uniforms purchased by the City. Three of the labor laws that OLSE enforces apply to all employers with employees performing work in San Francisco. These broadly applicable laws are: • Minimum Wage Ordinance (MWO): San Francisco’s minimum wage, unlike the federal or state minimum wage, adjusts annually with inflation. It applies to all San Francisco employers and to employees who work two or more hours per week and are subject to California’s minimum wage, including tipped workers, teenagers, and part-time workers. • Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO): Adopted by San Francisco voters in November 2006, the PSLO established the first paid sick leave law in the United States. Employees...


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