Will Portland's City Council Follow Seattle's Lead and Enact a Paid Sick Leave Ordinance?
Over five years ago San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance went into effect, which required employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees working within the city limits. As we discussed in another post [click here], Seattle recently followed San Francisco’s example and enacted its own paid sick leave ordinance. (In fact, Seattle’s ordinance went even further to require employers in Seattle to provide their employees with paid “safe time,” which can be used for time not working due to the need to deal with domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or due to the closure of schools or workplaces for health reasons.)
Now there are rumblings that the city of Portland, Oregon may be looking to join the club of major West Coast cities enacting paid sick leave ordinances.
Word on the web is that Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz may be working on a proposed ordinance to come before the City Council for consideration before the end of 2012. Activists in Portland, especially those working on behalf of Latino workers, are pushing for such an ordinance. According to these activists, 40% of all private sector workers in Portland and 57% of Latino workers do not have a single paid sick day.
So far it does not appear as though any draft text of a paid sick leave ordinance has been floated for public review. Nor does it appear as though Portland is looking to emulate Seattle’s more expansive ordinance to include paid “safe time.”
However, the lack of a draft has not stopped some employers from going on the offensive against the potential ordinance. The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) has put up a page containing background information and talking points. ORLA is also encouraging its members and other concerned employers to contact City Commissioners to express their opposition; the page also provides a script that can be used when speaking against the ordinance.
Given the very real impact any such paid sick leave ordinance would have, both employers and employees located in Portland would be well advised to monitor closely the progress of this potential ordinance.