December 11, 2013

Mandatory Sick Leave for Portland Employees Begins January 1, 2014


If your organization does business in Portland, Oregon, you may have recently received a mailer from the City of Portland regarding mandatory sick leave for employees. The mailer references the City's new Protected Sick Time ordinance and administrative rules, which go into effect on January 1, 2014. Businesses located both inside and outside Portland City limits are impacted if they have employees who perform work within the City of Portland.

The ordinance requires all private employers to provide up to 40 hours of sick leave per year to employees who perform work within Portland city limits. Employers with 5 or fewer total employees may offer unpaid sick leave time. Employers with 6 or more employees (counting all full time, part time, temporary, and seasonal employees even if they work outside the City or the State of Oregon) must provide paid sick leave.

Employers must also notify employees of their protected sick leave rights in three different ways:

  1. Display a poster of the new law in each building and worksite;
  2. Provide individual notices in writing to current employees by the end of the first pay period in 2014. For new employees, the individual notices must be given by the end of the new employee's first pay period; and
  3. On at least a quarterly basis, provide a written notice to each employee regarding the amount of accrued and unused sick time that is available for use by the employee.

The notices must be provided in English and, if applicable, any other language the employer normally uses to communicate with employees. A Spanish version of the poster is available online.

Finally, the ordinance also includes detailed rules regarding adopting or modifying sick leave policies; monitoring and calculating sick leave accrual and use; and maintaining sick leave records. For more information about some of these details, please see our prior Business Alert, Portland Adopts Paid Sick Leave.

Portland's new Protected Sick Leave ordinance will require most employers to take some action right away. At a minimum, employers should prepare to distribute and post the new sick leave notices and review and update their existing sick leave policies. Failure to do so could result in non-compliance and civil penalties payable to both the City of Portland and to the employee directly. The City of Portland has entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Labor & Industries ("BOLI") to enforce the new sick leave requirements. BOLI will investigate alleged violations of the new sick leave law. Employers who have individual compliance questions should consult with employment law counsel.

For more information on this topic, please contact or call (888) 598-7070.

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