Statewide paid sick-leave bill headed to preliminary vote

The latest draft of a bill mandating paid sick-leave is slowly making its way through the legislature.

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The latest draft of a bill mandating paid sick-leave is slowly making its way through the legislature.

Businesses with 10 or more employees would have to allow workers to accrue an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees would be able to carry over up to 40 hours of sick leave from one year to the next, but it would not mandate employers to pay for unused time. 

According to the Bend Bulletin, Senate Bill 454 would allow companies with fewer than 10 workers to provide unpaid leave.

“We don’t see this as just a benefit, having access to paid sick time. We see it as a basic labor standard and a public health standard,” said Andrea Paluso, executive director of the group Family Forward Oregon.

SB 454 had a hearing Thursday in a joint budget committee and is on its way to a likely vote in committee Monday despite opposition from some businesses that fear the mandate would add costs. The bill is being heralded by 20 Democrats, many of whom spoke about the idea during the last election. Two Democrats, Sen. Michael Dembrow, of Portland, and Rep. Paul Holvey, of Eugene, have worked with businesses to change the bill and get it into a passable form.

The law would not affect the ordinance already in place in Portland.

According to the Portland Tribune:

“All mandates come at a cost, and this bill is no different,” said Betsy Earls, vice president and counsel for Associated Oregon Industries, the state’s largest business lobbying organization. “Medium and large-sized businesses might be able to absorb the costs of these policies better. But the reality is that if most small businesses could afford those benefits, they would already be offering them.” …

Businesses can meet the standard with paid-time-off policies that can be invoked for sick leave. The bill allows “shift trading,” a practice common in restaurants, to enable workers to do extra shifts without having to tap sick leave they might not have accrued anyway. But trading has to be on a voluntary basis with the employer.


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