The City of Portland is now the fourth US city (joining San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.) to require paid sick leave for certain eligible employees (Connecticut is the only state).
On March 13, 2013, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that provides protected sick leave to private-sector employees starting on January 1, 2014. Under the ordinance, private-sector employers with six or more employees must provide up to 40 hours (or five days) of paid sick leave per year; smaller employers (those with five or fewer employees) must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave.
Employees - no matter the size of the employer - will be eligible for sick leave if they work in Portland at least 240 hours in a calendar year. Employees who work more than 240 hours will accrue one hour of paid (or unpaid - depending on the size of the employer) sick leave for every 30 hours worked within the Portland city limits (maxing out at 40 hours).
Employees can use sick leave for a variety of reasons, including:
For an employee's personal mental or physical illness, including pregnancy, childbirth and preventive medical care;
To care for a family member with an illness, injury or medical appointment;
If the employee's place of business closes for a public health emergency, or to care for a child whose school or day care closes for a similar reason; and
For reasons related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking.
If an employee uses three or more consecutive sick days, his or her employer can request reasonable documentation (e.g. documentation signed by a licensed health care provider, a signed personal statement from the employee) showing the employee is out for an approved reason.
Employees can accrue hours at the start of employment - however, they cannot use their accrued time until after they have worked for 90 days.
If an employer already provides employees with five days (or 40 hours) or more of paid time off (or 40 hours of unpaid time off for smaller employers) during the calendar year, such employers will not be required to provide employees with additional sick leave, as long as the employer's policy allows leave to be taken for the same reasons as provided above.
Employers must establish a written policy or standard for an employee to notify his or her employer of the employee's use of sick time (e.g. calling a designated number). Employees are required to follow such policy and, when the need for leave is foreseeable, comply with such policy as soon as practicable. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, employees should provide notice as soon as possible.
Employers may not require an employee to:
Find a replacement as a condition of using sick time; or
Verify absences lasting fewer than three days (except in limited circumstances).
In addition, employers may not discriminate or retaliate against employees who request, use, or complain that they are not receiving sick leave.
Employers must provide and post a notice of an employee's rights to sick leave. The City will provide employers with a template for this notice. The notice must be posted in a conspicuous and accessible location where employees work - such as break rooms or bulletin boards - where other types of notices are posted.
Philadelphia, which has a similar requirement in place for a small group of employers, is expected to vote on an expanded regulation this week. Sick leave bills are also pending in legislatures across the country including Oregon (state-wide), Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. Stay tuned.
Employee Leaves > Other Leaves: Oregon