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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Eugene Could Become Third Northwest City To Require Paid Sick Leave


Oregon's second-largest city could be the next place to mandate employer-provided sick leave. The Eugene City Council Wednesday voted to direct city staff to draw up an ordinance that would take effect next year.

Seattle and Portland both have relatively new laws that require all but the smallest employers to offer paid time off when a worker gets sick. Supporters of the idea say it's a way to protect low-wage hourly workers who typically have weaker benefits packages than salaried employees. Backers of the ordinance in Eugene say it would mean 25,000 employees would no longer have to choose between coming to work sick or potentially losing their job.

On the other hand, Eugene City Council member Mike Clark said this could hurt a business’ bottom line.

"We don't have magic pixie dust that we can sprinkle on the economy to make it better," he said. "But we can sure as heck avoid hurting it.”

The Eugene City Council will hold a public hearing on the issue next month before taking a final vote.