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Portland to Implement Sick Leave Law

May 16, 2013 | By | No Comments

What you may have heard is true: the City of Portland will be requiring employers to provide sick leave as of January 1, 2014.  The sick leave law covers employees who work within the City of Portland, or who travel to the City of Portland for work at least 240 hours in a calendar year.  For example, if you have at least 6 employees you are required to provide a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  However if you have less than 6 employees you are required to provide a minimum of one hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours.

Are you exempt from this law?

  • Employers with more than six employees who already provide a minimum of 40 hours of paid time off are exempt.
  • Employers with less than six employees who already provide 40 hours of unpaid time off are also exempt from the sick leave law.

Therefore, if your company’s current policies meet the minimum standard then you do not need to change anything to comply with the new law.  Additionally, employers that are not Portland based are not exempt from the sick leave law if they have employees travelling into Portland for work at least 240 hours.

What does this mean for employers who are not exempt?

Take a look at your existing policies.  If your company does not meet the current minimum standards, consider a strategy to implement the change in 2014.  You will need to determine how to track their hours worked in the City for the accrual of leave.  Employees can use sick time for seeking their own care or for the care of a family member on either scheduled visits or in emergencies.  Employees are required to notify the employer before the start of their shift or as soon as practicable and are not required to find a replacement or work an alternative shift to make up time.  You will need to develop policies and procedures for employees to notify you if they are sick and determine how their work will be covered, which will probably vary by position within the company.  The city will be developing outreach resources in the coming months to educate employers and employees regarding the law, but now is the time to start thinking about its potential impact on your current company operations.

What are my next steps?

  • Determine whether your current paid time off policies meet the current requirements
  • Develop communication process for potential leave time with employees
  • Review your budget to strategize ways to make room for the cost of paid sick leave