Oregon Employer LAWlert: New Sick Leave Law

The Oregon House and Senate have passed Senate Bill (SB) 454, which provides for statewide paid sick leave. Governor Kate Brown has signed the bill, which will become effective January 1, 2016.

 SB 454 mostly mirrors Portland’s sick leave law, providing that covered employers must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to the next year, but they can use only 40 hours of such leave in any one year. The law also provides that covered employers may agree with their employees to cash out unused paid sick time at the end of the year as long as they immediately credit those employees with 40 hours of paid sick leave at the beginning of the next year.

 The law has notice and posting requirements similar to the requirements of Portland’s sick leave law. Application of the law is to be managed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

 We will discuss the many nuances of the law before its effective date. However, there are a few significant departures from the Portland sick leave law to be aware of:

 The law covers employers that employ at least 10 employees working anywhere in Oregon. If an employer has fewer than 10 employees working in the state, it must provide for 40 hours of unpaid sick time per year to be accrued at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.

 The law grandfathers Portland’s application of its sick leave law to Portland employers with six or more employees. Any employer that maintains any office, store, restaurant, or establishment in a city with a population exceeding 500,000—only Portland qualifies, surprise, surprise—will be covered if it employs at least six employees. Portland employers with fewer than six employees must still provide unpaid sick leave.

 The new law also provides broader coverage than Portland’s sick leave law and expands paid sick leave to cover any purpose provided for under Oregon’s family leave law. This will include such things as parental leave and bereavement leave.

 The new law preempts any local or city sick leave law except to the limited extent that it provides for paid sick leave for Portland employers with six or more workers.

 Eugene’s new sick leave law was set to become effective July 1, 2015. The city has decided to repeal its sick leave law and simply wait until the state law takes effect next year.

Cal Keith

We hope this information is valuable to you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Holman HR.