Not to be outdone by its neighbors to the north–Portland and Seattle–Eugene, Oregon appears poised to become the next jurisdiction to pass an ordinance requiring employers to provide employees working within city limits with paid sick leave. A coalition of pro-sick leave advocacy groups, including Portland-based Family Forward, first brought the topic before the council in February. A majority of council members support the idea and recently asked staff to draft an ordinance that could be ready for public comment in May or June and on the books by January 2015.
In drafting the ordinance, council staff will likely look to Portland’s sick leave ordinance, which took effect January 1, 2014. While there’s a lot more to it, in a nutshell the Portland ordinance requires employers with six or more employees to provide workers in Portland up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. (Employers with fewer employees may provide unpaid leave.) Notably, for jurisdictional reasons the Portland ordinance does not apply to federal or state government employers. Since any ordinance passed by the city of Eugene will probably face similar jurisdictional limits, one of Eugene’s largest employers, the University of Oregon (as well as other state and federal government employers in the city), would likely be unaffected by passage of an ordinance in Eugene.
The City Council is expected to meet again in late April to continue discussing the ordinance. We will continue to keep you apprised as new developments occur.