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Paid sick leave law to take effect January 1

Posted By Beth Farmer, Friday, November 20, 2015

Peter Hicks, an attorney with Jordan Ramis PC, gave a presentation on Oregon's new paid sick leave law at the OAN Convention on Nov. 14. This presentation was free for all members.

The law requires that all Oregon employers with 10 or more employees (or six or more employees in cities with a population of more than 500,000 – i.e. Portland) provide all employees up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each year. Under the new law, employees earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and are potentially eligible to earn up to a total of 40 hours per year. Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time into the next year, but total accrued sick time cannot exceed 80 hours.

Employers can avoid carrying over unused sick time if they adopt a policy that pays out any unused sick time at year end and then "frontloads" or immediately provides all employees with 40 hours of leave on January 1st of each new year. Employers with less than 10 employees (or less than six employee in cities with a population of more than 500,000) are also required to provide sick leave, but the leave is unpaid.

Employees are permitted to use the sick leave for illness, a sick child or family member, domestic violence or domestic abuse leave, and absences related to public health.

Hicks advised that all employers should update their employee handbook and leave policies by January 1, 2016 and make sure their payroll practices incorporate the reporting requirements. What's more, workplace postings should be updated to include this new law.

In response to a question, Hicks said that companies using contract labor are not necessarily off the hook. To be safe, companies using contract labor should require the providing firm to comply, and include an indemnity clause in case the providing firm fails to comply.

Hicks also discussed other new employment laws, including the "ban the box" legislation, new OSHA reporting requirements and possible forthcoming modifications to overtime wage exemptions at the federal level.

You can download Hicks' complete PowerPoint presentation from the meeting.

OAN's regular and associate members can receive up to 30 minutes per month of free legal advice through the OAN Legal Access program. To access this benefit, have your member number ready and call Steve Shropshire at 503-598-5583 or toll-free at 888-598-7070, or email him at If you need your member number, call the OAN at 503-682-5089.

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