Who coughs up the cost of sick employees?

Impending Mandate – Paid Sick Leave


On June 12th, the Oregon House passed state bill SB 454, a requirement that all employers in Oregon, with few exceptions, provide sick leave to their employees. Earlier in the week, the Oregon Senate had approved the bill. It seems virtually certain that Governor Brown will sign this bill into law. Assuming SB 454 becomes law, it will go into effect on January 1, 2016. Oregon would be the fourth state to implement a sick leave law following California, Connecticut and Massachusetts.


There were many amendments made to the bill while the legislature was working on SB 454. Now that we have the final version, we can move forward with compliance. The Oregon Legislature created a ten-page bill to implement this paid sick leave policy. That many pages on a sick leave policy can be overwhelming, so let’s begin by covering some highlights:


  • Employers will be classified in one of two ways:
    • Those that have to provide paid sick leave and;
    • Those that have to provide unpaid sick leave.

If you have 10 or more employees then you must provide paid sick leave (except in Portland where there are different rules).

  • Employees are given at least 40 hours of sick leave (paid or unpaid) per year.
  • State sick leave law supersedes any local law once it goes into effect. Stay tuned to see if Eugene steps back from implementing its sick leave law in the second half of 2015.
  • Employers are allowed to substitute a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy for the sick leave requirement, as long as it is as generous as the sick leave law requirements.


Cardinal will be coming out with a model sick leave policy that our clients can adopt. We are also working on the tools to help you manage a sick leave or PTO policy. Additionally we have a time and attendance system should you wish to address this immediately.


Our team of experts is here to keep you in compliance.

Feel free to contact us!

Arin J. Carmack