Oregon Democrats make late push for paid sick leave bill

At a press conference Tuesday, leaders bemoaned the bill stalling in committee. By Tuesday night, a negotiator said the measure was close to moving forward.

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At a press conference Tuesday, Democratic leaders bemoaned Senate Bill 454, mandating paid sick leave for most employees, stalled in committee.

By Tuesday night, a negotiator said the measure was close to moving forward.

From OregonLive.com:

“We’ve been working on a bill all session,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, who chairs the Senate Workforce Committee and has led efforts in that chamber to find a workable compromise on SB454.

The original proposals, modeled after ordinances passed in Portland and Eugene, would have required employers to give workers up to seven days a year. They were later reduced to five days, as in Portland and Eugene, and applied to businesses with six or more employees only. A provision was added to give the state pre-emption authority to override local ordinances, a concession to business groups that asked for consistency.

The Register-Guard reports that simplifying the package may end the gridlock.

By Tuesday evening, two key Senate negotiators said they were close to a deal on a simplified package of labor policies. Sen. Chris Edwards, a Eugene Democrat, said the latest paid sick leave proposal would cover any employer with 10 or more workers. The package wouldn’t include any policies related to minimum wage, but it would create, in a separate bill, a two-year ban on local governments enacting rules regarding employee scheduling.

The proposed ban comes as labor advocates nationally have started lobbying for laws requiring employers to give their workers early notice of their schedule and of any possible changes — policies dubbed “predictive” or “fair” scheduling. Edwards — along with fellow Democrats Sen. Lee Beyer of Springfield and Sen. Betsy Johnson of Scappoose — has favored the more moderate approach on a statewide paid-sick-leave policy this session. Without one of those three votes, Democrats’ 18-12 edge in the Senate isn’t enough to pass the policy.

Edwards said he’s concerned about how the legislature will implement what he calls “the most progressive statewide policy in the nation.”