Oregon State Paid Sick Leave Law


Oregon State Paid Sick Leave Law

Attorney: Ryan Probstfeld

The Oregon legislature recently passed Senate Bill 454 and became one of four states in the United State to required paid sick leave for eligible employees from most of Oregon’s employers.  Effective January 1, 2016, employees accrue one hour of sick leave for each 30 hours worked from the first day of employment. Covered employers subject to these new sick leave rules include: (1) all employers with an average of 10 or more employees per day in Oregon; and (2) any employer with an average of six or more employees per day in Oregon if the employer maintains an Oregon location in a city with a population greater than 500,000.

Employers must notify employees of the sick time laws, maintain records of hours worked and paid sick time accrued and used by each employee and provide quarterly written notices of accrued and unused sick time available for use by the employee.  Unused sick time must be carried over to subsequent years, unless the employer and employee agree, by mutual consent, that the employee will be paid for all unused sick time at the end of each year in which the sick time accrued.

Employers may adopt policies that limit:  (1) an employee from accruing more than 56 hours of paid sick time in a year; and 2) an employee’s use of no more than 56 hours of paid sick time in a year.  However, employers may not apply an absence control policy that includes sick time absences that may result in adverse employment actions against the employee.   This or other attempts to interfere with, discriminate, restrain, retaliate for, or fail to pay for the use of sick time is an unlawful employment practice under Oregon law, and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries may assess civil penalties for willful violations of the law.

Importantly, Oregon’s new paid sick leave laws do not apply to employers that have paid sick time or paid time off (PTO) policies that equal or exceed the new requirements.  If the PTO policy grants an employee at least 56 hours of paid time off at the beginning of each year and the terms and conditions of use are compliant, then an employer need not create a new sick leave policy.