Paid Sick Leave Set To Go Statewide In Oregon

Dec 15, 2015

More Oregon employees will be able to take sick leave in the coming year. It's because of a new law taking effect in January.

If you already get sick leave in Oregon this law probably won't affect you. But advocates for the bill, which narrowly passed both legislative chambers in June, said many low-wage workers have to choose between taking unpaid time off or going to work sick. The bill requires companies with ten or more employees to offer five days of paid sick leave per year for full-time workers.

Business groups lobbied hard against the measure. And some say they aren't being given enough time to sort out all the details.

Jenny Dresler of the Oregon Farm Bureau said rules were finalized just this month.

"We're going to need some time to get properly trained and to adopt those rules,” she said. “I mean, they're complicated. It’s 15 pages."

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said it's offering employers a free hotline to call with questions about the new law. The agency said it won't penalize companies who unintentionally violate the law in its first year.

Smaller companies won't have to offer paid sick leave, but will have to provide employees five days of "protected sick leave" each year.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries said the law will provide paid sick leave to roughly 860,000 employees starting in January. That number doesn't include workers in Portland, which already has a paid sick leave statute that applies to companies with as few as six workers.