In Part 1 of this article, we explained how the Oregon legislature has enacted or updated several laws affecting employers and employees throughout the state. It is always important for employees to be aware of their rights so they may identify any violations thereof. Furthermore, it is equally important for employers to stay on top of the changing employment laws so that they may ensure compliance with the law and avoid claims for possible violations. In Part 1, we addressed laws regarding social media access and wages. Here, we now focus on changes in Oregon law regarding employee rights to leave time under certain circumstances.
Domestic Violence Leave
Since 2007, Oregon has had a law allowing leave time for victims or parents of minor victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment to seek necessary medical treatment, law enforcement assistance, counseling services, legal assistance, and more. Previously, however, an employee had to work an average of 25 days a week for the six months prior to the leave request in order to be eligible for the domestic violence leave. An amendment to Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.270 eliminates that requirement and makes all employees of covered employers eligible for domestic violence related leave from the first day of employment.
The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) already requires that employers with 25 or more employees provide employees a certain amount of leave time with job protections for illness, birth of a child, adoption of a child, or to care for an ill family member. As of January 1, 2014, OFLA will also require employers to provide job-protected leave time for bereavement. An employee may take up to two weeks in the two months following the death of a family member to attend a funeral, make other arrangements, or to simply grieve the loss. “Family members” include spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, and parent-in-law.
Sick Leave in Portland
In addition to Oregon state laws, the city of Portland enacted a new Sick Leave Ordinance that goes into effect on January 1, 2014. The new ordinance requires employers with at least six employees to provide a minimum of one hour paid sick leave for every 30 hours the employee works, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Sick time accrued and used must be paid at the employee’s regular hourly wage. Portland will be one of only a handful of progressive jurisdictions that mandates paid sick time, including San Francisco, New York City, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Jersey City, and the state of Connecticut. Furthermore, employers with less than six employees will have to provide the same amount of unpaid sick time.
If you have any concerns regarding compliance with the upcoming changes in Oregon and Portland employment laws, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Oregon employment attorneys at HKM today.