On 6/22/2015, Oregon passed SB 454, a mandatory sick leave law effective 1/1/2016, requiring employers who have 10+ employees in the state (or 6+ for employers in Portland) to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers with less than 10 employees in Oregon (or less than 6 employees for employers in Portland) will be required to provide employees with up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. The new law applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.
Sick leave will accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, or employers may choose to frontload employees with 40 hours of sick leave at the start of the year. Employees will start accruing sick leave on 1/1/2016 or on their first day of employment, whichever is later. However, new employees will not be eligible to use accrued sick leave until after 90 calendar days of employment, unless the employer permits earlier use. A maximum of 40 hours of unused sick leave may be carried over to the following calendar year; however, if employers choose to frontload 40 hours of sick leave at the beginning of the year, then they are not required to allow carryover of unused sick leave.
Employees may use sick leave for the following purposes:
- For an employee’s own illness, injury, or health condition;
- To care for a family member with an illness, injury, or health condition;
- For any purpose allowed under the Oregon Family Leave Act, such as bereavement leave, caring for a newborn child or newly adopted/foster child, or sick child leave;
- For any purpose allowed under Oregon’s domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking law;
- To donate accrued sick time to another employee, who may use it for any qualifying purpose (if the employer chooses to implement a policy allowing employees to donate sick time to coworkers); and
- In the event of a public health emergency.
At least once per quarter, employers must provide notice to each employee regarding the amount of accrued and unused sick leave available. This information may be stated on the employee’s pay stub. Employers must also provide written notice to employees regarding the new sick leave law. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries will soon be releasing a model notice for employers to use.
Employers should review their current paid sick leave policies to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements of the new law.
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