Beginning January 1, 2016, Oregon employers will be required to provide up to 40 hours of sick time each year, depending on how many hours an employee works. Employers with 10 or more employees (six or more for Portland employers) must offer these hours as paid sick time.
Who Is Covered?
The law applies to most employees—exempt, non-exempt, full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal. However, the law excludes a very small number of categories of employees from coverage: independent contractors, employees who receive paid sick time under federal law, participants in certain work training and work-study programs, certain railroad workers, and individuals employed by their parent, spouse, or child. There is no exception for small employers; organizations with one or more employees will be required to provide sick time.
An employee will begin to earn and accrue sick time on the first day of employment or on January 1, 2016, if they are already employed at that time. Sick time must accrue at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked. An employee who is exempt from overtime requirements is presumed to work 40 hours in each workweek for the purpose of accrual of sick time unless the actual workweek of the employee is less than 40 hours, in which case sick time accrues based on the actual workweek of the employee.
An employee must be allowed carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the subsequent year. An employer must restore previously accrued unused sick time to an employee who is reemployed by that employer within 180 days of separation.
Employees may take sick leave to care for themselves or a family member. Uses include mental and physical illness, injury or health condition, need for medical diagnosis, care or treatment for a physical or mental illness, injury or health condition, need for preventative medical care, any acceptable use under the Oregon Family Leave Act, to seek legal or medical services if the employee is the victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or in the case of a public health emergency. Employees are also allowed to donate accrued sick time to another employee if their employer allows it.
Employers must provide written notice of the law’s requirements to each employee. The Bureau of Labor and Industries has provided a poster for this purpose.
Employers should also provide written notification, at least quarterly, to each employee of the amount of accrued and unused sick time that remains available for use. Pay statements may be used to satisfy this notification requirement.
Employers who already have sick time or PTO policies in place should determine if their current policies will meet the requirements of the new law. Employers who do not currently offer sick time should determine how they plan to implement the new requirements. All employers should ensure that they have the appropriate notice and record keeping procedures in place prior to January 1, 2016.
Ask your Time 4 Payroll representative if you need assistance in implementing Sick Leave tracking at your company.