Oregon Enacts Paid Sick Time Law

rebecca_watkinsGovernor Brown signed HB 454 into law on June 22, 2015, making Oregon the fourth state to pass a state wide paid sick leave statute. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016 and will preempt the Portland and Eugene city laws.

Under Oregon’s law, employers will be obligated to provide all employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave time. With a few exceptions, employers with 10+ employees, will have to provide paid sick leave time. (A notable carve out in the law exempts certain construction trade union employees.) Sick time can be used for the employee’s or the employee’s family members’ illness, doctor visits, public health emergencies, or any reason allowed under OFLA or Crime Victims Leave. The law also mandates that employees can donate their sick time to other employees.

Sick time accrues at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, so part time and salaried employees will also be entitled to sick time leave. Employers have two options for administering leave: they can either frontload 40 hours at the beginning of the year or they can allow employees to use it only as it accrues. If the employers use the accrual method, they must allow employees to carryover of at least 40 hours from year to year, or (if the employee agrees) pay the employee for unused sick leave at the end of the year. Employers using the frontloading method will not be required to allow for carryover or pay for unused sick leave.

The new law imposes two notice requirements on employers. First, employers have to provide a written notice to all employees about the law. Second, employers have a quarterly obligation to update each employee on his or her accrued and available sick time. BOLI is tasked with creating rules to implement the new law, so we expect to see proposed rules over the next few months that will help clarify employers’ obligations. BOLI is also expected to draft a sample written notice that employers can use to inform employees about the new law. SBH will keep you informed of the rules as January 1st draws nearer. If you have any questions regarding the new law feel free to contact me at rwatkins@sbhlegal.com