Oregon Sick Time

I have met with several employers in Oregon lately who do not know the basics of employing in Oregon. For a couple weeks, we are going to tackle some elemental requirements to employing in Oregon to help make sure you’re implementing best practices and mitigating the risk of hot water. There might be some new laws coming down the pike but before we tackle those, let’s go back to the basics with a legal requirement of all Oregon employers since 2016 – Oregon Sick Time.

Here are some important things to remember about Oregon Sick Time:

  1. All Oregon employees earn 1 hour of protected sick time for every 30 hours worked (up to a total of 40 hours, if you wish to cap there)
  2. Sick time is protected, whether you have to pay an employee for the time or not
  3. Employers outside the Portland Metro area who employ fewer than 10 do not have to pay for sick time, but that time is still protected.

What does “protected” mean for all intents and purposes?

Employees who have accrued, unused Oregon sick time have the right to use that time for many purposes related to their own illness or the illness (or needs, to a certain extent) of relatives and family. Employers cannot retaliate against or punish the use of Oregon sick time, because it is protected. Are there some carveouts for employers so they don’t have to deal with employees who never show up? Yes, there are some tools available (including the right to prohibit sick time if an employer suspects abuse and the right to demand a physician’s note (at the employer’s expense) to confirm/deny the presence of a condition sufficient to draw down sick time.

Ultimately, however, employers need to connect with their payroll organization to ensure they are tracking Oregon Sick time and that the company knows how to administer Oregon Sick Time. As always, reach out if you have questions. See you next week for another basic element of employing in Oregon.