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Oregon Lawmakers Pass Paid Sick Leave for All Workers

July 8, 2015

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) recently signed legislation that requires all employers to implement paid sick time for all employees.

S.B. 454 will allow workers to accrue at least 40 hours of paid sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Workers would be compensated if they miss work due to injury, illness, or domestic abuse. Workers cannot be required by their employer to find their own replacements or make up missed days. Employers of fewer than 10 workers must provide unpaid sick leave at the same rate.

“This is a policy that’s been years in the making,” Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson (D-Portland) said in the Oregonian. “Too many Oregon workers have to face that decision of staying home themselves with a sick child or losing a day of pay.”

About 43,000 direct-care workers in Oregon will benefit from the new law. While home care workers were exempted from neighboring California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, Oregon’s home care workers are explicitly covered by the new law.

Portland and Eugene — the state’s largest cities — implemented similar policies in 2013 and 2014, respectively. With the passage of S.B. 454, Eugene-s ordinance is automatically repealed. The Portland ordinance is identical to the new state law except that the threshold to determine whether a business must provide paid sick leave instead of unpaid leave is six employees instead of ten. The Portland law will still apply within city limits.

Paid Sick Leave Around the U.S.

Oregon joins Connecticut and Massachusetts in guaranteeing paid sick leave for all workers. In addition to Portland and Eugene, 17 cities have passed laws guaranteeing paid sick leave, including six in 2015 alone, according to the organization Family Values @ Work.

Nationwide, an estimated 80 percent of low-income workers — a category that includes most direct-care workers — do not get paid sick days.

— by Stephen Campbell, PHI Policy Research Assistant

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