SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who currently don’t get paid sick leave will start getting it once a new statewide law goes into effect January 1.
Senate Bill 454 was approved by the Oregon Legislature in June.
The new law requires companies with 10 or more workers provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave every year.
The state estimates there are more than 850,000 Oregonians who will be getting paid sick leave for the first time under the new law.
Workers can use their paid sick time for a number of health-related reasons including caring for a sick family member, a routine doctor’s visit or a family death.
Both Portland and Eugene already have paid sick leave ordinances. Portland’s law requires companies with just 6 or more workers provide paid sick leave. That ordinance still applies once the statewide law goes into effect January 1.
Any companies with less than 10 workers (or less than 6 in Portland) are still required to provide 40 hours of protected unpaid sick leave.
Workers accrue 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 5 days a year, under the state law. Even workers who are part-time, temporary, exempt or nonexempt are included.
But what happens if an employer doesn’t follow the law? Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian says to give the Bureau of Labor and Industries a call.
“We get a call from somebody giving us a tip that, for instance, an employer is not providing paid sick days,” Avakian said. “That allows us to go in and investigate whether or not that is truly going on and, in that way, we get anonymous tips regularly.”
The law does have some exemptions that apply to federal employees and those who work for a parent or child.
The Oregon Farm Bureau says they still have many questions about how the new rules will apply to them. They say farmers aren’t sure how much to pay piece-rate workers who are compensated based on the amount they harvest, like fruit pickers.
State officials have set up hotlines for employers and employees to help them navigate the new paid sick leave law. To find those numbers, click here.
Oregon is the 4th state to require paid sick leave behind California, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.