Eugene, Oregon moving forward with sick leave ordinance

Following in the footsteps of its not-so-distant neighbor to the North (Portland, OR), Eugene is now close to the point of implementing a mandatory sick leave ordinance. A task force for this ordinance, including local business owners, industry representatives, Mayor Piercy, along with three Councilors; recently came together to produce a final report to be reviewed. The ordinance is scheduled for a Public Hearing on July 21st in addition to City Council Work Sessions on the 28th and 30th of July.

Likely features of Eugene’s mandatory sick leave ordinance include:

Employees who perform work in Eugene, even if only periodically, will have the right to accrue and use sick leave regardless of where their employer is actually located. This will impose obligations and potential liability on businesses outside of Eugene.

While unpaid leave may be mandated for small employers, paid sick leave will be required for all others.

The ordinance will mandate accrual of sick leave at a rate of at least 1 hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. This is the same rate used by Portland, which has caused many employers to modify their time-off benefit plans.

Accrual will need to begin at the start of employment, but employees will not have access to sick leave until they have been employed at least 90 days.

Unlike Portland, the Eugene ordinance may exempt employers that have collectively bargained for sick leave. The lack of such an exemption in Portland has been the source of considerable frustration.

Ordinance violations may be remedied through administrative complaints, and possibly via private lawsuits.

The effective date is targeted for July 1, 2015.

This ordinance is expected to be voted on and passed at the scheduled City Council Work Sessions instead of being sent to voters in November of this year. As one of the members of the Eugene City Council noted at the last meeting, “this is kind of preordained….We are going to pass this.” Make sure to stay posted on this ordinance and the steps to stay in compliance.

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