Paid sick leave to cost us a half billion

osba-logoPaid sick leave mandate, SB 454, to cost Oregon small business a half billion
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Oregon small businesses are about to be hit with a half billion government mandate. The paid sick leave mandate, SB 454, is advancing in the Oregon Legislature and will cost businesses over a half billion dollars to comply with the costly new law. The law requires about a week’s worth of paid leave and applies to businesses with 10 or more employees, except in the City of Portland which has their own costly paid sick leave law. Portland’s law begins at 6 employees.

State Senator Chuck Thomsen tried to protect small family owned businesses by raising the exemption for businesses with less than 25 workers. Committee chairs on the Joint Ways and Means Committee rejected attempts at compromise or balance. They instead settled on exempting only businesses with 10 employees.

Many businesses fear the compliance costs of the new mandate which comes with pages of implementation requirements and new penalties for mistakes. The new paid sick leave mandate would become both a real financial and time burden for small employers.  A Senate floor vote is expected next week.

Note: The half billion cost number was discovered by request from senators who asked the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office to determine the cost if the paid sick leave mandate was turned into a refundable tax credit. The cost to the state would have hit $914 million for the 2017-2019 two year budget and $1.02 billion for the 2019-2021 two year budget. Instead of having the state pay for a service, the politicians elected to make private businesses take up the entire cost.

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