Oregon Sick Time and Sick Leave Laws

Does Oregon Have Sick Time or Sick Leave Laws?
Oregon law now provides protection to employees when they are sick. Originally the cities of Portland and Eugene created laws requiring sick leave and sick pay, now the state of Oregon has followed suit and offers the benefits of sick time to all Oregon employees. “Sick time”, or sick leave, means “time that the employee is permitted to be absent from work.” In most cases, the employee taking sick time or sick leave must be paid wages. This is also called sick pay. In all cases, Oregon sick time laws forbid employers to discriminate against the employees because the employee took sick time, was paid wages for sick time (sick pay), or inquired about sick leave or sick pay. Because Oregon law on paid sick time was recently added, some Oregon employers have not begun following the law that employees are entitled to take sick time (sick pay) or that most Oregon employers are required to pay wages for that sick time (sick pay). Besides failing to pay wages Oregon law requires as sick time, some employers are still writing-up employees for being sick and/or firing employees for taking sick time or requesting sick pay. Oregon’s sick leave laws are fairly comprehensive but many of the issues regarding Oregon’s sick time statutes have not been litigated. Therefore, few Oregon courts have had the opportunity to interpret the new sick time and sick pay laws. Having experienced wage claim attorneys (lawyers) representing you in your sick time wage claim or sick leave discrimination claim in this newly developing area of law is extremely important.

Am I Entitled to Sick Time under Oregon Sick Leave Law?
Oregon Sick Leave law requires that employees working in Oregon accrue sick time. Oregon Sick Leave laws require that all Oregon employees accrue sick time at the rate of 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, or 1 1/3 hours for every 40 hours worked. The employer can have policies that allows the employee to become entitled to more sick time than required by law, but it cannot set up a policy that provides for less sick time. If an employer who has a vacation pay or PTO (Paid Time Off) policy allows the employee to take time off for being sick, and that vacation pay or PTO policy is “substantially equivalent to or more generous to the employee than Oregon’s sick time laws, the employer can simply follow their own vacation pay or PTO plans. If all sick time has been used up under the employer’s sick time complying vacation or PTO plans, the time is not required to be paid or allowed. There are some exceptions to this rule, but that is the starting place. For instance, under the FMLA, also known as the Family Medical Leave Act, employees are entitled to take certain time off for specific personal or family medical issues. Oregon also has its own Family Leave Act known as OFLA. Employers must still comply with these laws even if all accrued sick time is depleted and paid out. Our lawyers (attorneys) can assist in obtaining the full amount of your wages due when the employer fails to comply with the sick time laws in Oregon. Sick pay and sick time are not optional, they are the law. Employers must comply with these laws.

Must My Employer Pay Sick Time or Sick Leave under Oregon’s Sick Leave Laws?
Yes, employees taking sick time are generally due wages or sick time under Oregon Sick Leave laws for the time they are out sick. Employees who have accrued sick time may use the sick time any time after they have worked for the employer for more than 90 calendar days. Employees working 90 days or less for the employer have accrued sick time but are not entitled to take the sick time and are also not yet entitled to sick pay. Whether an employee must be paid for sick pay depends upon the size of the company and where they work. Under Oregon Sick Leave Laws, sick time wages (sick pay) are due where the employee taking sick time worked for an employer that has ten or more employees. However, just because the employee works for an employer that has less than 10 employees, does not mean they are not entitled to sick time. It only means that the sick time they take is not required by law to be paid. Of course, the employer could agree to pay the sick time anyway, but the employer is under no legal obligation to make the agreement to pay sick time wages. Further, employees working in Portland must be paid wages for sick time if the employer has six or more employees. Other areas may eventually incorporate similar distinctions that are better for the employee regarding sick time. As sick time is a new area of law in Oregon, the laws regarding sick time may be tweaked more before it is more or less permanent.

How Do I Make My Boss Pay My Sick Time or Sick Leave Under the Oregon Sick Leave Laws?
Employees can enforce the right to wages (sick pay) given by Oregon’s sick leave laws by filing wage claims. Oregon treats PTO and vacation pay as wages and should treat Oregon’s requirement to pay wages for sick time the same way. (Except where the employee is not seeking wages, but only the time off or for retaliation discussed below). Therefore, where an employee has not been paid the required sick time pay, the employee should bring a wage claim to recover the unpaid wages. In addition, if the wages were not paid after the employment has ended, the employee may be able to sue for 30 days of penalty wages in addition to the unpaid sick pay (wages) by having our Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers) file a wage claim lawsuit in Oregon. Late Pay Page. Employees can also sue under different laws to recover damages, which would include the unpaid wages. ORS 659A.885 allows damages.

When Can I Use My Sick Time or Sick Leave Under the Oregon Sick Leave Laws?
The state of Oregon allows employees to use their sick time for many things. Obviously, sick time can be used when the employee is mentally or physically ill. Sick time can also be used for injuries and other health conditions. Sick time can be used for preventative medical care or to obtain proper medical diagnosis. What may not be as obvious is that sick time can be used to care of a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury or health condition. Sick time can also be used to care for family members who needs medical diagnosis or preventative medical care. This means that a child doctor appoints are covered by sick time. It also means that if your child must stay home from school due to a medical illness or condition, your absence is likely covered by the sick time laws in Oregon.

Can My Boss Refuse to Let Me Use My Sick Time Under the Oregon Sick Leave laws?
No, your right to sick time is given by the Oregon sick leave laws. Employers must comply with Oregon Sick Leave Laws, they are not optional. Your boss must allow you to take sick time when you or your family are sick. (See “When can I use my sick time” under Oregon’s sick leave laws above for examples).

Do I Have to Provide a Doctor’s Note to Take Sick Time Under Oregon Sick Leave Laws?
Generally no. You are entitled to take sick time when you qualify. This generally means that you have worked for more than three months and have sick time accrued and that you have a qualifying reason to take sick time. See above definition of what type of events qualify an employee to take sick time under Oregon’s sick leave laws. After an employee is off for three consecutive days, the employer can ask for a doctor’s note. Also, if the employer has reason to believe that the employee is not actually sick, the employer can ask for a doctor’s note. So there are exceptions, just will depend upon the situation whether asking for a doctor’s note is appropriate under Oregon Sick Leave laws.

What if My Employer Discriminates Against Me Because I Used Sick Leave under Oregon’s Sick Leave Laws?
Oregon’s sick time laws also protect Oregon employees needing sick time. Employers can be held liable for interfering, restraining, or failing to pay their Oregon employees the sick time allowed by law. It also forbids any type of retaliation or discrimination because an employee inquired about, requested, or took sick time. Oregon employees can sue for wrongful termination, discrimination, and retaliation where the employer’s actions are caused by the employees use or discussion of sick leave laws. For instance, if the employee asks for paid sick time and is fired. The employer likely owes wages and penalties for the sick time. Late Pay Page. In addition, the employee is likely due damages for discrimination and adverse employment actions based upon the sick time laws. ORS 659A.885 allows damages. These damages correlate with other damages due under Oregon law for other types of discrimination.

Oregon Sick Leave Law Lawyers
The Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers)  at Schuck Law, LLC focus their law practice on wage claim lawsuits. Our lawyers (attorneys) regularly prosecute vacation pay or PTO wage claim lawsuits throughout Oregon. We also have experience prosecuting sick time wage claims under Oregon’s sick leave laws. In addition to the claims for damages outlined above, an employee may also sue to recover their costs, disbursements, and attorney (lawyer) fees incurred in prosecution of the wage claim lawsuit. This allows the lawyers at Schuck Law, to take most wage claim and sick time lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This means, with minor exceptions that are within your control, our lawyers only get paid their lawyer (attorney) fees if they recover sick time wages for you or prove that you were harmed by retaliation from the employer because of the sick leave laws.

The Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers) at Schuck Law, LLC prosecute Oregon sick time wage claims throughout Oregon, including but not limited to, Portland, Astoria, Beaverton, Portland, Bend, Clackamas, Portland, Coos Bay, Grants Pass, Hillsboro, Portland, Hood River, Klamath Falls, Portland, Lincoln City, Oregon City, Portland, Madras, McMinnville, Medford, Portland, Sandy, St. Helens, and Tillamook.

Google By David Schuck