The Votes Are In! Portland's City Council Unanimously Approves Sick Leave Ordinance
Portland is the latest jurisdiction to mandate sick leave, joining Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. Under the ordinance approved last week, employees would earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked – up to 40 hours each year. Employees must work at least 240 hours per year to qualify. They are eligible to use accrued sick leave after 90 days of employment. Sick time not used in a calendar year may be carried over to the next calendar year (not to exceed 40 hours).
The paid leave requirement applies to businesses with six or more employees. The leave would be unpaid at employers with five or fewer employees. Employees could use the sick leave when they or a close family member or domestic partner are sick, injured or in need of medical care or when the absence relates to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking that affects the employee or the employee’s family or household member. The policy also extends to workers employed by companies in other cities that work at least 240 hours per year in Portland.
An employer with an existing sick leave or Paid Time Off (PTO) policy that provides employees with an accrual of sick time (or time that can be used for that purpose) that equals or exceeds the City’s requirement (including use and carryover of sick time) is considered compliant. As drafted, the City’s policy makes no exception for existing collective bargaining agreements.
As reported in last month’s newsletter, the City ordinance is unfunded and may increase payroll costs for employers. In contrast, the Oregon legislature has proposed a state-wide paid sick leave mandate that would be funded by a payroll tax. As written, the Portland bill would go into effect on January 1, 2014, if the Oregon legislature fails to adopt standards that are equal to or better before that time. Employers will be required to post a notice about employees’ rights to sick time (Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is developing the poster).
Contact us if you have questions! We will keep you apprised as new developments become available.