The state of Oregon, under Governor Kate Brown, recently became the fourth state to adopt a statewide mandatory sick leave law. As of January 1, 2016, employers will be required to provide up to forty hours of sick leave per year, to employees. This new law will have a significant impact on just about every employer within the state of Oregon. Let’s take a look at a few important things to know.
Full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees will be impacted by the new law with limited exceptions. Paid sick leave will be required for all employers with more than ten employees (six or more in Portland). Smaller organizations, employers with fewer than ten employees (six in Portland) must offer up to 40 hours of sick leave, however, this leave can be unpaid. Should an employer already be offering paid time off (PTO), or paid vacation, they will not be required to offer any additional paid sick time as long as they allow at least 40 hours of sick time per year.
The paid sick time can be used for any of the following purposes:
- Time off for Illness or Injury: Time can be used for an employee’s own, or a family member’s, mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition. The need for medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or a need for preventive medical care.
- Bereavement: Planning for and attending a family member’s funeral and bereavement.
- Birth: To care for a newborn, newly adopted, or foster child.
- Safety: To seek legal assistance to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
- For any purpose allowed under Oregon’s domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking law.
- To donate accrued sick time to another employee, who may use it for any qualifying purpose (i.e., any reason listed above or below). This is optional for employers; it is only permitted if the employer has a policy that allows employees to donate sick time to coworkers; or
- In the event of a public health emergency
What are the Required Medical Verification’s?
Should an employee be gone for more than three days consecutively, the employer is permitted to require verification from a doctor or other healthcare professional of the employee’s need for sick leave. Please note, the employer is responsible to pay for any verification costs that are not covered under the health benefit plan.
How Is Paid Sick Time Accrued?
Employees earn sick time at a rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, or one and one-third hours for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year, beginning January 1, 2016. New employees will begin to accrue sick time beginning their first date of employment, however, they will not be eligible to utilize said time until their ninety-first day of employment, unless authorized by the employer.
How Is Unused Time Handled?
Employers must permit employees to carry over up to forty hours of unused sick time to the following year. Should an employee leave the organization, employers are not required to pay employees for accrued, unused sick days.
Additional Information to Note
Rate of pay: Used sick time must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay. For commissioned or piece-rate employees who do not have an established rate of pay, sick time must be paid at no less than minimum wage.
Notice requirements: Accrued and unused sick time must be reported to employees on a quarterly basis, along with any information about the law’s benefits and requirements.
In preparation for these changes, Oregon employers should review their current PTO, vacation, or other leave policies, to better understand how the new requirements will affect their organization. Amend any existing policies to comply with the new requirements. Communicate with human resources, supervisors, and managers to ensure the new policy changes are understood. Consider updating the employee handbooks to reflect these changes.
Here at RBP Methods, whether your goals are financial or cause-related, we offer the tools and services needed to carry out your mission. Contact us to learn more about non-profit accounting tools and see how we can support you as you consider implementing these required changes for your organization.