Does Oregon Have Sick Time, Sick Leave, or Sick Pay Laws?
Oregon paid sick leave law now provides protection to employees when they are sick. Originally the cities of Portland and Eugene created paid sick leave laws requiring sick leave and sick pay for employees. Now the state of Oregon has followed suit and requires paid and unpaid sick leave benefits to all Oregon employees. “Sick time”, or sick leave, means “time that the employee is permitted to be absent from work.” Statutes starting at 653.600. 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 paid 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 paid and unpaid sick leave laws were recently added, some Oregon employers have not begun following the law. These employers are subject to Oregon sick leave laws, and likely subject to Oregon paid sick leave laws. Besides failing to pay wages Oregon paid sick leave law requires to be paid as sick time, some employers are still writing-up employees for being sick and/or firing employees for taking time off under Oregon’s paid sick leave laws.
Oregon’s paid 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 time laws or Oregon Leave Law?
Yes. If you work in Oregon, Oregon sick leave and sick time laws cover you. Oregon Sick Leave law requires that all 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. Exceptions that may allow for more sick time than is allowed under the employer sick leave policies include, but may not be limited to, sick leave covered by 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. In fact, Employers must comply with all leave laws. Our employment lawyers (attorneys) can assist in obtaining the full amount of sick leave wages you are due. Our employment lawyers also can protect your rights and recover wages when employers retaliate based upon your use of the sick leave laws, FMLA, or OFLA.
Must My Employer Pay Sick Time or Sick Leave under Oregon’s Sick Leave Laws?
Yes, employees taking sick time are generally entitled to paid sick leave. The paid sick leave is a type of wage in Oregon. There are limits to the amount of paid sick leave the employee is entitled to take. 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 sick pay also depends upon the size of the company and where they work. Under Oregon Sick Leave Laws, sick time wages (sick pay) is 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 are still developing. Our employment lawyers (attorneys) can help you recover your Oregon sick time wages. In addition to the Oregon sick time pay (wages), our employment lawyers may also be able to sue for penalty wages depending upon other facts in your case. These penalty wages can be several thousand dollars. Finally, our employment lawyers also enforce the right to leave through discrimination and retaliation lawsuits based upon the employer’s failure to comply with Oregon’s paid sick leave requirements.
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 sick leave wages (sick pay) given by Oregon’s paid and unpaid sick leave laws by filing wage claims. Oregon’s sick pay laws should be treated by courts the same as other pay or wages. For instance, Oregon treats PTO and vacation pay as wages. Thus, Oregon sick pay should also treated as wages. This means 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 sick time wages. In addition, if the employer did not comply with Oregon sick pay laws by failing to pay wages, and the sick pay wages still 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). Employees can retain our Oregon wage claim attorneys (lawyers) to file a sick time lawsuit under Oregon law. Late Pay Page. Employees can also sue under different laws to recover damages, which would include the unpaid wages. ORS 659A.885. Our employment lawyers assist employees to recover their sick pay and other wage penalties against employers who ignore the sick pay and sick leave rights.
Can my boss makes me change my schedule to avoid payment of sick time under the leave laws?
Generally no. While we are aware of no case definitively supporting this proposition, it certainly appears to defeat the purpose behind the requirement that the time off be paid. Because an employee who calls in sick is entitled to sick leave under Oregon law, the fact that the employer alters the schedule to allow the employee to get additional work hours later in the pay period /pay week, should have no bearing on the claim for sick time wages. 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. If the employee takes on extra shifts later in the week, the sick time is not included when determining whether the employee is due overtime. Oregon overtime page. Nor is it used to determine whether the employee was paid minimum wages for all hours worked. Oregon minimum wage page. However, if the sick time 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 employment wage claim attorneys (lawyers) file a wage claim lawsuit in Oregon. Late Pay Page.
My Oregon boss failed to pay my sick time in my final paycheck, what can I do?
If your Oregon boss owes you sick time wages, or any other wages, and you employment has ended, you may have a late payment of final wages claim. Oregon’s wage laws set the time lines that an employer must pay all final wages. Late Pay Page. These time lines also apply to wages due under Oregon’s sick time laws. When employers fail to pay the sick time wages, they also fail to timely pay them when employment has ended. While it may seem no different than simply not paying the sick time wages, it is. When employers fail to timely pay all wages, including sick time wages, the employee likely can recover penalty wages under the late payment of wages statutes. The penalty wages for not timely pay sick time wages are equal to eight hours of wages for each day your employer is late paying. The maximum penalty is 30 days. For example if the employee made $10.00 per hour, the maximum amount of penalty wages equals $15.00 * 8 * 30 = $3,600. Our employment lawyers help employees recover their unpaid sick time and penalties.
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. Thus, if you call in sick because you have a cold, covered by sick leave. Get injured, covered by sick leave. You do not have to break anything to be covered. Get in a car accident and you have whiplash, covered by the sick leave laws. It is impossible to list out all the illnesses and injuries covered by the sick leave laws.
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 taking your child to their doctor’s appoints are covered by sick time and generally must be paid sick time wages for this 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. Just as importantly, it means that employers cannot discriminate against you because you had to take your child to the doctors or had to stay home because your child was sick. If you have questions regarding whether a specific time away from work was covered, call us. Our employment lawyers are here to help employees navigate these laws and force employers to comply with the sick leave laws.
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. When an employer fails to pay your sick time, you have a wage claim to recover your sick time wages. When an employer discriminates against you because you use your sick time you have an employment discrimination claim against the employer. Your damages are treated like many other discrimination cases in Oregon, just based upon the sick leave laws instead of the laws protecting other status. (for instance, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, FMLA discrimination, and OFLA discrimination to name a few). Our employment lawyers regularly help employees navigate the wage laws and the sick leave laws to recover money due them.
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. If your employer refuses your sick time, then it is likely interfering with your rights under the sick time laws. If your employer does not pay your sick time, then you likely have a wage claim to recover your sick pay wages. The employment lawyers (attorneys) at Schuck Law will help you recover if employers fail to pay your sick pay because of a doctor’s note, or fire you for failing to have a doctor’s note.
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 the jobs of Oregon employees who need to use their 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 other damages caused by the discrimination. Further, since the employment has ended, the employee likely due penalty wages because the employer did not pay 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. These damages correlate with other damages due under Oregon law for other types of discrimination such as back pay for wages that were lost because your job was terminated. Being terminated is not the only type of discrimination that can occur. Employees can be written up, passed over for promotions, put on bad schedules, or have their hours reduced. All of these types of retaliation activities can lead to wage and damage recoveries for employees. When navigating these damage options, it is good to have experienced employment lawyers (attorneys) like those at Schuck Law to help you through the process.
What if My Employer Retaliates Against Me Because I Used Sick Leave under Oregon’s Sick Leave Laws?
Retaliation for use of Oregon’s sick leave laws is unlawful. Any adverse action taken by the employer because you used, sought, inquired, or discussed Oregon’s sick time laws is not lawful. For instance, if the employee takes paid sick time and is moved from the assistant manager position to a part time clerk, this is a type of retaliation. The damages due the employee will depend upon the consequences of the actions taken by the employer in retaliation to the sick leave. Some could include, unpaid wages, back wages, and reinstatement. ORS 659A.885 allows damages. These damages correlate with other damages due under Oregon law for other types of retaliation or discrimination claims. Employment lawyers, like those at Schuck Law, can help ensure you recover the damages you are due for the employer’s unlawful conduct.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Oregon’s Sick Leave and Sick Pay
- Am I entitled to sick pay? Generally yes. If you have accrued sick time, have worked more than 90 days for the employer, and the employer has 10 or more employees.
- Am I entitled to paid sick time? If you have accrued sick time, have worked more than 90 days for the employer, and the employer has 10 or more employees, then your sick time must be paid.
- Am I entitled to paid sick leave? Usually yes. If you have accrued sick leave, have worked more than 90 days for the employer, and the employer has 10 or more employees, then your employer must provide sick leave and that sick leave must be paid.
- How soon after being hired can it take sick time? Generally, 90 days after beginning to work.
- What if I get sick before I worked long enough to qualify for sick time? You likely are not covered. An employer could still allow you sick time, but they may not be required. Portland, and possibly other cities, may have additional protections.
- Does sick time apply to employees in restaurants? All employers are covered by Oregon’s sick leave laws. Only employers with 10 or more employees are covered by Oregon’s sick pay laws. However, some cities may have different requirements.
- If I am sick, can my employer require a doctor’s note? Maybe, but generally no. Oregon’s sick leave laws allow employers to ask for doctor’s note if they have reason to believe you were not sick or where you have been on sick leave for three days.
- Can the employer change my schedule to avoid paying sick time? Generally no. It is a matter of proving what happened. If you has sick time available, and you called in sick, the employer must allow the time off and pay your sick time wages.
- What can I do if my employer does not pay sick time? Call the lawyers at Schuck Law. Our lawyers help clients win sick pay wages. When the facts are correct, our lawyers also help employees win additional penalties.
- How sick do I have to be to use sick time? Many normal illnesses are covered. ORS 653.616 provides a complete description of what qualified as sick time under Oregon’s sick leave laws. For instance mental or physical illnesses qualify as sick time. As do injuries and doctor’s appointments for medical diagnosis or preventative care.
- Does my sick time cover when my child is sick? Yes, caring for family members with physical or mental illnesses are covered by Oregon’s sick leave laws. ORS 653.616(2)
- Can I be fired for using sick time? Generally not. An employer is forbidden from taken adverse employment action because you use sick time. However, if you are out of sick time, or do not yet qualify to take sick time, the answer could be different. Other laws may also protect you. For instance OFLA and FMLA both protect an employee from discrimination or retaliation and do so for longer periods than Oregon’s sick leave laws require.
- Can my employer reduce my schedule because I took sick time? Generally no. Employers are not allowed to retaliate against an employee who uses sick time under Oregon’s sick leave laws. Again, this assumes that you qualified for the sick leave under Oregon’s sick leave laws.
- What can I get if my employer retaliates or discriminates against me because I used sick time? Damages due the employee will depend upon the consequences of the actions taken by the employer in retaliation to the sick leave. Some could include, unpaid wages, back wages, and reinstatement. ORS 659A.885. These damages correlate with other damages due under Oregon law for other types of retaliation or discrimination claims.
- Can you be fired for calling in sick in Oregon? No. Employers may not fire you for calling in sick. Oregon’s sick time laws protect your employment so long as you have available sick time to take. If you take more than the sick time that you have accrued, it depends upon whether other laws like the FMLA and OFLA apply.
- What are the calling in sick to work laws in Oregon? Employers in Oregon must all all employees to accumulate sick time. Employees are allowed to call in sick for covered reasons so long as they have sick time available. Most employers must pay sick time but small employers may only have to allow the sick time.
Oregon Sick Leave Law Lawyers
The Oregon employment wage claim attorneys (lawyers) at Schuck Law, LLC focus their law practice on wage claim lawsuits. As part of our wage and hour work, our employment lawyers (attorneys) regularly prosecute wage claims based upon Oregon’s sick leave laws. Our employment lawyers also enforce Oregon’s sick leave laws where employers have unlawfully retaliated against employees for using sick leave, requesting sick leave, or inquiring about sick leave. 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 sick time wage claim lawsuit or sick time discrimination lawsuit. This allows the employment lawyers at Schuck Law, to take most wage claim, sick time, retaliation, and discrimination lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This means, with minor exceptions that are within your control, our employment lawyers only get paid their lawyer (attorney) fees if they recover sick time wages for you or prove that you were harmed by the employer’s failure to comply with the sick leave laws.
The Oregon employment 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