San Francisco successfully assists 14,000 workers through labor enforcement and worker restitution

In 2023, the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) collected $20 million in worker restitution, resolved over 400 cases, and assisted over 14,000 San Francisco workers.
December 22, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) announces over $21 million in collections for worker restitution and penalties in 2023, the highest level collected since the office’s inception in 2001. 

OLSE, a division of the Office of the City Administrator, advances the welfare of San Francisco’s workers by enforcing labor laws, responding to worker complaints, and providing proactive public outreach to workers and employers. This year, OLSE resolved over 400 cases, directly assisting over 14,000 workers.  

The $21 million dollars in restitution includes back wages, benefits, penalties, and interest paid to workers from their employers. The bulk of this restitution derives from enforcing workers’ right to quality healthcare through their employers and ensuring City construction contractors pay prevailing wages. 

San Francisco has long been a leader in protecting the rights of workers. The City led the nation in establishing its own minimum wage, paid sick leave, paid parental leave ordinances, and ensuring San Francisco employees have access to healthcare. Over 60 cities have followed suit, establishing similar regulations to San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation policies.  

“Protecting the rights of working people is part of our daily work and I want to thank the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement for their commitment to fulfilling that mission,” said Mayor London Breed. “Preventing wage theft and loss of benefits helps our lower wage workers and keeps our City strong.”  

“Over $20 million in restitution was recovered this year alone for San Francisco workers as a result of the hardworking team at the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement," said City Administrator Carmen Chu. "I want to thank Pat Mulligan and his team for their continued commitment and actions to safeguard workers’ rights and the compensation workers are owed. Their actions have a direct and tangible impact on the lives of our city's workers." 

Year after year, OLSE centers public interest by enforcing comprehensive legislation passed through the Board of Supervisors and San Francisco voters. 

In the last fiscal year alone, the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement has:  

  • Implemented the Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance which provides up to 80 hours of paid leave that employees may use when they are unable to work (or telework) for specified reasons related to COVID-19. 
  • Operationalized the Military Leave Pay Protection Act which requires employers to provide supplemental compensation to employees on military duty for up to 30 days. 
  • Rolled out the amended the Displaced Worker Protection Act which has made great strides to improve paid leave and furthered OLSE’s ability to reach community members and enforce the new legislation.   

“I am really proud of OLSE staff as they successfully establish a strong atmosphere of labor compliance, ultimately protecting workers and leveling the playing field for employers,” said Patrick Mulligan, Director of the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement.