Highlights from Portland Paid Sick Leave Event

Portland Paid Sick Leave - Amy Angel, Barran LiebmanWe had a full house for our sold out Portland Paid Sick Leave event on November 6th . Amy Angel, Partner at Barran Liebman, gave a thorough overview to help employers better understand this complicated law, effective January 1, 2014. Here are some of the main highlights from the event:

Employers this applies to:

Any employer who has an employee who works within the City limits of Portland, including Unions regardless of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If you already offer sick leave or PTO, this is not in addition to those benefits, but your policy must meet ALL the minimum requirements of the Ordinance.

Employers this does not apply to:

  • U.S. Government
  • State of Oregon
  • Political subdivision of the State
  • Any Oregon county, city, district, authority, public corporation or public entity other than the City of Portland

Employees who are eligible:

Those who have worked at least 240 hours in a year within Portland City limits. The 240 hour threshold is a one-time requirement and does not need to be met each year of employment. This includes temporary employees who are not provided through a staffing agency, and telecommuters who are physically working in Portland.

Employees who are not eligible:

  • Co-partners of the employer
  • Volunteers
  • Independent contractors
  • Participants in work-study programs
  • Exempt railroad workers under the Federal Railroad Insurance Act

Qualifying Absences:Portland Paid Sick Leave - Suzi Alligood

  • Routine medical and dental visits for yourself
  • Caring for the physical or mental health of a family member, including routine medical and dental visits, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care
  • Domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking
  • Closure of business, school or daycare due to public health emergency

When and how to use sick time:

After the 91st calendar day of employment and having worked 240 hours, sick time can be used as accrued in increments of one hour or to cover all or part of a shift.

Accrual of sick time:

Employers may choose to front load and provide a leave bank of at least 40 hours on January 1st rather than track accrual.


Beginning January 1, 2014 for current employees, and upon hire for new hires, employees can accrue 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, including overtime hours.


Employees should be conscious when using sick time and should avoid taking time off during peak work hours, when work is time-sensitive, or when mandatory meetings are scheduled. Employees must provide notice in a timely manner as stated in the employer’s policy, otherwise sick time can be denied.


Employers may require documentation for absences longer than three consecutive days but must pay the employee’s expense of receiving verification. Documentation can be required before 3 consecutive day if abuse of the policy is suspected, such as repeated use of unscheduled sick time on or adjacent to weekends, holidays, or vacation, pay day, or mandatory shifts.

Action Items for Employers:

  • Read the ordinance, administrative rules, sample policy and checklist for compliance
  • Adopt/revise policies
  • Distribute notice by the first pay period of 2014
  • Obtain and display poster by January 1, 2014
  • Contact us with questions!

Portland Paid Sick Leave Event - Landscape

 Additional Resources:

 In case you missed the presentation, you can download the audio recording here.