Labor Bureau grants “Safe Harbor” on Portland Sick Leave

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

BOLI Provides Employers “Safe Harbor” Period to Adjust to Portland Sick Leave

The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the agency charged with enforcing Portland’s new Sick Leave Ordinance, has announced a proposal to provide employers a “safe harbor” period to adjust to the requirements of the new law. The Sick Leave Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2014, but the agency will focus on training and assistance until July 31, 2014, to give employers time to adapt to the new requirements of the law. During this safe harbor period, BOLI would not take enforcement action against employers who unintentionally violate the law.

As we have previously reported, the Sick Leave Ordinance requires all private-sector employers with six or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to employees working at least 240 hours in a calendar year within Portland city limits. Smaller employers (those with five or fewer employees) must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked within the Portland city limits, regardless of where the employer is located.

Although Portland employers will get extra time to adjust to the Sick Leave Ordinance requirements, that does not mean they do not have to be ready to comply with the new law when it takes effect on January 1, 2014. Rather, this safe harbor period will allow businesses who unintentionally violate the ordinance 30 days to remedy errors and compensate employees.

This announcement is welcome news in light of the uncertainty surrounding many aspects of the new law and will provide employers a bit more time to digest the City’s Final Administrative Rules, which are expected to be published by this Friday, November 1, 2013. We will continue to keep you apprised of new developments pertaining to this law.

If you want to learn more about Portland’s Sick Leave Ordinance, you won’t want to miss Barran Liebman’s upcoming seminar on the topic, with Partner Amy Angel. Look for an email invitation to hit your inbox shortly.
Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email Traci Ray at [email protected]. Copyright © 2013 by Barran Liebman LLP.

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