The Ins and Outs of Oregon's New Paid Sick Leave Mandate

Date: November 18, 2015

New law takes effect Jan. 1.

Oregon employers will soon have to comply with another set of regulations thanks to legislation signed into law over the summer.

Come January, Oregon will become just the fourth state in the country to mandate paid sick leave. The new law requires the paid leave at businesses with 10 or more employees, though it also has mandates for smaller companies.  

“Just because you are under the threshold for paid sick leave, it doesn’t get you off the hook for keeping track of your employees’ hours for the purposes of the law,” said NFIB Oregon State Director Anthony Smith. “So the law affects everyone, just in different ways.”

Employers with at least 10 employees must pay for up to 40 hours of sick leave a year, while smaller companies will be required to provide up to 40 hours a year of unpaid sick leave.

There are only a few exceptions to the paid leave rules. Employees exempt from the new law include those who work as independent contractors, receive paid sick leave under federal law or participate in a work training or work-study program through the state or federal government. Certain railroad workers and those employed by a parent, spouse or child are also exempt.

Portland business owner Steve Ferree expressed his frustration with paid sick leave to NFIB earlier this year. Ferree, of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, has been offering the leave already under a Portland ordinance and feared the effects of a statewide law.

“For small businesses that have a lot of minimum wage employees, by the time you add paid time off, there’s not enough markup for the goods they’re selling,” he said.

Related Content: Small Business News | Healthcare | Oregon

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