The Oregon Senate recently signed Bill 454 giving sick employees cause to rejoice. The bill puts into law actions that ensure employees are guaranteed 40 hours of sick leave. Oregon is now one of four states proudly requiring employers to provide sick time, although Portland developed a better plan two years ago.
Oregon law now requires an employer of 10 or more individuals to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave, while an employer of nine or less must allow 40 hours of unpaid leave. Thanks to Portland’s preemptive ruling, they have a more stringent policy: six or more employees and five or less to qualify, respectively. Unfortunately for some, federal positions are not eligible.
Employees accrue sick time at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. While employees may carry their 40 hours over from one year to the next, employers have the right to limit sick time acquisition to 80 hours at one time. Employers may request a notice or verification for sick time use, but only in certain circumstances.
In general, an employee should be able to take their time off as they need, worry-free. Employees are protected from retaliation or discrimination when exercising the new law and can contact the Bureau of Labor and Industry if their rights have been violated.
By Anthony Vitale