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New Draft Administrative Sick Leave Rules Provide Some Clarification of Eugene's Mandatory Sick Leave Ordinance and an Opportunity to Comment

January 15, 2015

Overview

The City Manager of Eugene published the draft Eugene Sick Leave Administrative Rules for review. These rules help explain the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance, which provides for mandatory paid sick time for workers in the Eugene area. The Eugene City Council passed the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance on July 28, 2014, and it goes into effect on July 1, 2015.

However, these are draft rules for public comment, which means that the rules may change. Here are some of the most important draft rules to consider commenting on (more details below on how to submit comments) by January 21, 2015:

  • Workers who will be eligible to accrue and use paid sick time are those who work in "[t]he City of Eugene, Oregon, or the area within the territorial City limits of the City of Eugene, Oregon, and such territory outside this City over which the City has jurisdiction or control by virtue of ownership or any Constitutional or Charter provisions, or law." This is a difficult requirement to implement, particularly for employers with workers who perform work in multiple locations.
    • But the ordinance does not apply to independent contractors or workers in the building and construction industry whose terms and conditions of employment are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, among others. If you plan to rely on your workers not being covered under the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance based on these or other exceptions, talk with legal counsel to confirm.
    • All workers in the Eugene area will not be eligible to use paid sick time during their first 90 calendar days of employment. In addition, employees based outside of the Eugene area will have to work 240 hours in a year within the Eugene area to become eligible to use sick time.
  • Like the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance and Administrative Rules, which require employers to provide sick leave to workers in the Portland area (read an earlier published article), the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance allows workers to accrue 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours of work, up to 40 hours per year, with the right to carry over up to 40 hours, unless the employer front-loads 40 hours of sick time to the worker at the start of each year. Workers are also permitted to use up to 40 hours of sick time per year.
  • Unlike the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance, the draft Eugene Sick Leave Administrative Rules provide a different rule for what increments of time a worker may take sick leave. Eugene's draft rules provide that an employee may take sick time in increments as small as 1 hour to care for a family member. But if an employee wants to take leave because the employee is sick, then she or he may take sick time in increments as small as 2 hours.
  • Like other mandatory sick leave ordinances, the Eugene draft administrative rules require employers to create written policies, post notifications, and meet certain recordkeeping requirements. Employers will need to prepare these documents in advance of July 1, 2015, when the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance takes effect.
  • Employers will have a three-month grace period where, from July 1, 2015, through September 30, 2015, there will be no civil penalties. However, the City will require violating employers to compensate their workers.

The above covers only select draft rules. If you would like more information or need assistance in navigating mandatory sick leave requirements, we are here to help. If you would like to provide comments or suggestions on the draft rules, write to Jason Dedrick, 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401, or via e-mail at jason.p.dedrick@ci.eugene.or.us no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 21, 2015.

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