Sick leave bills slowed in Oregon Legislature

Twin bills aimed at providing Oregonians with paid sick days stall in both chambers.

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Twin bills aimed at providing Oregonians with paid sick days have stalled in their respective chambers.

Senate Bill 454 has not been scheduled for a vote despite making it through committee. House Bill 2005 remains stuck in committee, the Statesman Journal reports.

HB 2005 had its second work session Monday, but the committee did not move it forward. Speaker of the House Tina Kotek said it will be changed to match the Senate bill and then will be sent to the Rules Committee.

The Senate bill will move forward first, with the House bill as a backup if it fails, Kotek said. Democrats said both SB 454 and HB 2005 have been designed to be as easy as possible for businesses to handle.

Both bills:

Require all employers to implement paid sick time for employees. 

Create exceptions. Specifies purposes for which sick time may be taken and rate at which sick time accrues. Requires advance notice of request to use sick time under certain circumstances. Prohibits discrimination against employee for inquiring about or using paid sick time. Makes violation unlawful practice subject to jurisdiction of Bureau of Labor and Industries. Authorizes civil action for violation.

Companies with fewer than five employees would be exempt.

An alliance of three Southern Oregon chambers of commerce urged lawmakers to reconsider the measure, the Medford Mail Tribune reports.

Jasper’s Cafe owner John Lenz, who actively opposed the minimum-wage bill, likewise rallied resistance to SB 454. He noted that if an employee calls in sick, he still needs to have someone fill the shift, so he ends up paying two people.

“It’s a double-paid sick leave to me, how do I cover that?” Lenz asked. 


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