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Employers receive short notice on sick leave rules

Posted By Beth Farmer, Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Oregon Association of Nurseries and three other employer groups expressed disappointment that the state Bureau of Labor and Industries left employers little time to digest and implement final paid sick leave rules the Oregon Legislature approved during the 2015 session.

The rules were issued on December 9. Employers must implement the rules by January 1, 2016. "Our members have been waiting since the Legislature adjourned in July for these rules," OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone stated in a press release. "Now they have less than 22 days to try to decipher the 15 pages of finalized rules and put a new system in place."

The release noted that BOLI's upcoming seminars — designed to help employers understand the rules — will cost $25 and up, and will not even begin until after January 1. (View the schedule here.)

"It is tough enough for small employers to know the rules when delays plague critical and concise information being available, and now (they are) charging those very employers for access," Stone said. "It is my view that BOLI has a responsibility to provide timely information and something we could use on January 1. They failed and it is a big disappointment."

Other groups participating in the press release included the Oregon Farm Bureau, Associated Oregon Industries, and Associated General Contractors. All four groups expressed frustration that, although BOLI will delay any penalties until 2017, it will not stop employees from suing employers during 2016.

"This is very concerning, and employers should not be left with the impression that they are entirely protected from any legal recourse should they not be in compliance immediately January 1, 2016," stated Betsy Earls of Associated Oregon Industries. "We are disappointed that a safe harbor and transition period was not written into the rules."

BOLI does offer a Technical Assistance for Employers hotline that people can call with questions about sick leave and other workplace rules. The number is 971-673-0781.

Finally, OAN members are reminded they can get up to 30 minutes per month of free legal advice from the law firm Jordan Ramis P.C., via the OAN Legal Access program. Call Steve Shropshire at 1-888-598-7070 and have your member number ready.

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