September 8, 2015

New State and Local Paid Sick Leave Laws (article)

More state and local jurisdictions are enacting paid sick leave laws.  Oregon joins California, Connecticut and Massachusetts in enacting a state-wide paid sick leave law.  The City of Pittsburgh joins 19 other local jurisdictions that have enacted paid sick leave ordinances.  In addition, there are updates relating to the various paid sick leave ordinances in New Jersey.


  •  Oregon Sick Leave Law
    On June 22, 2015, Oregon became the fourth state to enact a statewide mandatory paid sick leave law.  Governor Kate Brown signed into law SB 454 which requires Oregon employers to provide paid sick leave to employees beginning January 1, 2016.

    Covered Employers.  All private and public sector employers who employ 10 or more employees working anywhere within the state are required to implement a sick time policy wherein employees can earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.  Employers with 9 or fewer employees are required to implement a sick time policy that allows an employee to earn and use up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time per year.  

    Covered Employees.  Generally, all individuals who perform services at a fixed rate for a covered employer are eligible for paid sick time, including individuals paid on an hourly, salary or commission basis and individuals for whom wages are reported by the employer.  Individuals not eligible for the paid sick time include those who receive paid sick time under federal law, independent contractors, participants in a work training program or work-study program or individuals who work for the employee’s parent, spouse or child.

    Use of LeaveLeave can be taken to attend to one’s own needs, or for the needs of a family member for the diagnosis or treatment of a physical or mental condition including preventive care services.  For this purpose, a family member includes:
    • The spouse of an employee;
    • The biological, adoptive or foster child of the employee; 
    • the grandparent or grandchild of the employee;
    • A parent-in-law of the employee; and
    • A person with standing in loco parentis of the employee.
  • In addition, leave can be taken for the psychological, physical, or legal effects of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  Leave may also be taken due to closure of a place of business, school or day care due to a public health emergency.

    Leave Accrual and Carryover.  In both paid and unpaid types of leave programs, the sick time accrues at the rate of at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours the employee works; or, 1 hours for every 40 hours the employee works.

    Employees begin to earn and accrue sick time on their first day of employment; and can begin using their accrued sick time beginning on the employee’s 91st calendar day of employment; thereafter, the leave can be used as it accrues. 

    Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time from one year to a subsequent year. An employer may cap the leave accrual at 80 hours per year and restrict the sick time to 40 hours per year. Employers that provide frontloaded paid or unpaid sick time are not required to allow an employee to carry over accrued hours.

    In lieu of carrying over hours, an employer can opt to pay the employee for all unused paid sick leave at the end of a year; in which case, the employer would then credit the required amount of paid sick time on the first day of the immediately subsequent year.  

    Employers are not required to compensate an employee for accrued unused sick time upon the employee’s termination, resignation, retirement or other separation from employment.

    Notification.  The law includes both employee and employer notice obligations.  

    Generally, if the need for leave is foreseeable, the employee would be obligated to notify the employer within 10 days prior to leave.  In an unforeseeable event, notice should be provided as soon as practicable.  For absences over 3 days, the employer may require medical verification or reasonable documentation of the need for leave.

    Employers are required to provide written notification of the leave to each employee in the appropriate language of their workforce.  The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries will develop a notice template for employers to use.  In addition, employers are required to provide leave accruals and unused sick time amounts to their employees on a quarterly basis.

    Coordination with other leave policies and city ordinances

    An employer’s current sick leave policy, paid vacation policy, paid personal time off policy or other paid time off program that provides comparable or more generous benefits than the paid sick leave law will be deemed to satisfy the requirements of the law.

    Oregon’s sick leave law prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting sick leave ordinances.   Prior to the enactment of this law, the cities of Portland and Eugene had already passed them. Portland’s ordinance will be superseded effective January 1, 2016 with the exception that employer size in Portland remains at employers employing 6 or more employees. The Eugene ordinance will never go into effect.

  •  City of Pittsburgh - Paid Sick Days Act

    On August 13, 2015, Mayor William Peduto signed the Paid Sick Days Act (“Ordinance”) which provides paid sick leave for employees in the City of Pittsburgh. The Ordinance takes effect 90 calendar days following the release of implementing regulations by a city agency designated by the Mayor.

    Covered employers.  The Ordinance applies to all private and public sector employers employing one or more individuals who are located or doing business with the City of Pittsburgh.  Employers employing 15 or more employees must provide 40 hours of paid sick time per calendar year; those employers with fewer than 15 employees are required to provide 24 hours of paid sick time per calendar year.

    Eligible employees are those employed by a covered employer who work within the geographic boundaries of the City of Pittsburgh. Independent contractors, state and federal employees, employees covered by a bona fide collective bargaining agreement, or seasonal employees are not eligible for this sick leave program.

    Amount of leave and accrual.  Employees accrue a minimum of one hour of sick time for every 35 hours worked.  Employees are entitled to use accrued sick time beginning on their 90th calendar day following their date of hire.  Earned sick leave can be carried over to the following calendar year unless the employer otherwise provides 40 hours of sick time or 24 hours of sick time at the beginning of each calendar year.

    Use of Leave.  Leave can be taken to attend to one’s own needs, or for the needs of a family member for the diagnosis or treatment of a physical or mental condition including preventive care services.  For this purpose, a family member includes:
  • A biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild or legal ward, a child of a domestic partner, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis; 
  • A biological, foster, adoptive, or step-parent, or legal guardian of an employee or an employee’s spouse or domestic partner or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child; 
  • A person to whom the employee is legally married under the laws of any state; 
  • A grandparent or spouse or domestic partner of a grandparent; 
  • A grandchild; 
  • A biological, foster, or adopted sibling; 
  • A domestic partner; or
  • Any individual for whom the employee has received oral permission from the employer to care for at the time of the employee’s request to make use of sick time. 

In addition, leave may also be taken due to closure of a place of business, school or day care due to a public health emergency.

Coordination with employer policies.  An employer’s current paid leave policy that provides comparable benefits and accrual of leave as required by the Ordinance need not provide additional sick time. 

Notice Obligations.  Employers are required to provide written notification of the Ordinance to their employees entitled to sick time, including the amount of sick time and terms of its use.  Failure to provide notice could result in a civil fine of $100 per offense.  

Employees are required to orally request the leave, subject to a notification system established by the employer.  If the leave is unforeseeable, employees are required to notify the employer as soon as practicable.


  • Updates:  New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

    Workplace postings.  To date, nine jurisdictions in New Jersey have enacted paid sick leave ordinances.  Eight of these jurisdictions recently released workplace postings relating to their paid sick leave ordinances.  Employers located within these jurisdictions who are subject to these respective sick leave ordinances are required to post a notice in a conspicuous work place location about the availability of sick leave:

·         Bloomfield

·         East Orange

·         Jersey City

·         Montclair

·         Newark

·         Passaic

·         Paterson

·         Trenton 

The remaining New Jersey jurisdiction with a paid sick leave ordinance, Irvington, has not released a workplace posting to date. 

Applicability of Ordinance to Trenton and Paterson Employers.  For purposes of determining which employers are subject to Trenton’s sick leave ordinance, a recent court case affirmed that the ordinance only applies to employers sitused in Trenton.  In other words, the ordinance would not apply to an employer who is located outside of Trenton, even if it has employees who work in Trenton.


Similarly, the City of Paterson ordinance only applies to businesses located in Paterson.


Background Benefit Beat articles on New Jersey sick leave:

·         New Jersey: Passaic, East Orange, and Paterson Sick Leave Ordinances, 10/8/2014

·         City of Newark’s Sick Leave Ordinance,  3/18/2014

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

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