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The Stage Is Set for a Potential State-Wide Mandatory ‎Paid Sick Leave Law

January 22, 2015


But It's Not Identical to Other Mandatory Sick Time Ordinances

The 2015 Oregon legislative session is set to include debate over state-wide mandatory sick time. In the 2013 legislative session, legislators discussed mandatory sick leave, but ultimately did not enact any sick leave law. Now, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Beaverton) and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland) have proposed a new draft bill to provide all Oregon workers with paid sick time.

This new state-wide mandatory sick leave draft bill differs from Portland's, Eugene's, and Seattle's respective mandatory sick time ordinances in several ways, including the following:

  1. Waivers: Workers in the building and construction industry, longshoremen, or stage hands whose terms and conditions of employment are covered by a collective bargaining agreement are not required to comply. While the Seattle ordinance permits employers and employees who are part of a bona fide collective bargaining agreement to enter into a written waiver, the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance does not provide this exemption, nor does the Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance provide such a broad exemption.
  2. 56 hours of paid sick leave: Workers will be permitted to earn and use at least 56 hours of paid sick leave per year. This follows the Seattle Sick and Safe Time Ordinance's requirement for "tier two" employers, which are those employers with 50 to 249 full-time equivalents per calendar week during the previous calendar year. However, the Portland and Eugene ordinances require employers to provide eligible workers with up to 40 hours of sick time.
  3. 1 hour increments: Accrued sick time may be taken in increments as small as 1 hour. This follows the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance, but not the Eugene draft administrative rules (which you can read more about here).
  4. 3-year recordkeeping: Employers will be required to maintain records for 3 years from the date paid sick time accrues.
  5. More potential for liability: The draft bill provides for numerous revisions to laws governing damages and penalties for employer violations, including compensatory and punitive damages against employers. In addition, employers could face a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for a first violation and up to $100,000 for subsequent violations.

We will keep a close watch on what happens to Oregon's state-wide mandatory sick leave draft bill. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about policy issues or how to implement sick leave (including drafting policies, working with and disciplining workers, etc.), let us know. These are complex laws that we are committed to helping your business navigate while it continues to thrive.