Oregon Paid Sick Leave: What Does it Mean for Employers?

In June 2015, Oregon became the 4th state in the United States to implement mandatory paid sick leave legislation. Under SB 454, employers whose businesses employ 10 or more employees must provide paid sick leave. Since the bill is brand new, employers are still figuring out how to manage in this new business landscape. Oregon HR consultants are already offering services to help businesses manage this new mandate.

Accrual of Benefits

On January 1, 2016, Oregon employers who meet the requirements of the law must start tracking their employees time and the subsequent accrual of paid sick time. The law requires that an employee earn a minimum of 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 worked. The employee can accrue time up to 40 hours, unless the employer decides to extend that limit. The employer may also front-load sick time or allow time to accrue at a faster rate. However, the minimum requirements must be met and employees are allowed to utilize their accrued time as they see fit. Once earned, the paid time off does not reset at the end of every year. In fact, at the beginning of a new year, the paid leave carries over, allowing the employee to amass up to 80 hours of paid time off with a single employer. However, the carried-over paid time limitation can be increased by the employer. Every Oregon employee can begin to use their sick time upon their 91st day of employment. They may do so for any health-related ailment or complaint, including mental strain, injury, or illness. When an employee needs to use their sick time, they may not be required to find their own replacement as a condition of the state-mandated benefit.

Exceptions to the Law

Union workers are an exception to the rule. However, these workers must receive an equivalent employee benefit package. The law requires that they be covered by a collective bargaining agreement. If union employees are not covered by a collective trust or other plan, their employer must then provide paid sick time in accordance with the law. Employers who have fewer than 10 employees are also excepted from the law. Though they are not required to provide paid time off, they must provide unpaid sick leave, without the employee fearing dismissal on that basis. These small businesses can elect to provide paid time off at any rate or structure they like.

Create the Best Benefits Package

Employers may seek consulting regarding SB 454 to determine how to manage their human resources from 2016 forward. Some may wish to offer more elaborate packages for employees, so that they can attract the very best workers. Others, such as agricultural concerns, may need outside consulting to manage their transient, seasonal labor force. Since compliance with the law is mandatory, every business owner will want to work with the very best counsel available.

If you are in any way unsure of the legislation and how it affects your business, we recommend speaking with a human resources consultant. Rush Recruiting & HR is able to help businesses of all sizes comply with this new legislation. Contact us today.

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