Oregon “Emergency” Law Tweaks PSL Law

Declaring an “emergency” necessary “for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety,” Oregon tweaked its PSL law recently. Let’s review the amendments. For each, you decide whether it was necessary to immediately preserve the public peace, health and safety, or whether declaring an emergency was legislative hyperbole.

  • An employer in a city with a population exceeding 500,000 (i.e., Portland) does not include an employer that maintains only a seasonal farm stand or a temporary, construction site trailer used for office purposes only.
  • An employer may cap the annual accrual of sick time to 40 hours. The original law did not have an accrual cap.
  • The definition of “employee” does not include certain corporate directors, members of a limited liability company, or partners in a limited liability partnership or their immediate family members.
  • seal-39732_640An employer may adopt a policy that both caps an employee’s total accrual to 80 hours and caps annual usage at 40 hours. It was unclear in the original law whether an employer’s policy could have both caps.
  • An employee paid a base wage plus piece-rate or commission shall be paid for sick time at the base wage or the minimum wage, whichever is greater.  The original law did not address how to pay these employees.
  • If an employer has a paid time off program that is “substantially equivalent to or more generous to the employee” than the requirements of the PSL law, the employer must comply with the law’s requirements “for the first 40 hours that the employer’s policy provides per year” and not beyond that.  In my view, this is the most significant of the tweaks and gives employers much-needed guidance on integrating PSL with a PTO program..

Oregon’s Sick Time Law has been in effect since January 1, 2016. The amendments dealing with hours worked and sick time accrued or used apply January 1, 2018. The remaining amendments went into effect on July 1, 2017.