This past Wednesday, March 13, 2013, Portland, Oregon, became the latest municipality to pass a law requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for employees working as few as 240 hours per year. Portland's Earned Sick Time policy requires employers with 6 employees or more to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Smaller businesses will be required to provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Under the policy, employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Portland joins San Francisco, Milwaukee, Seattle and Long Beach, California, as well as the state of Connecticut, with enacted paid sick leave laws. New York City is expected to hold a hearing on a paid sick leave initiative on March 22. Earlier this year, bills providing paid sick leave have passed committees in both houses in Washington State; similar measures have been introduced in Vermont, Maryland and Philadelphia.
Nationally, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) plan to introduce the Healthy Families Act later this month. Under the Healthy Families Act, employees would earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours (or seven 8-hour days) of sick leave per year. The Act would apply to all businesses employing 15 or more employees and is expected to cover 90% of the workforce. Under the Act, employers could request documentation supporting sick leaves of three days or more.