If you are concerned that your employer is not complying with Oregon safety laws and rules surrounding COVID-19 an excellent place to gather information is Oregon OSHA’s website, where the agency has published a comprehensive COVID-19 FAQ.

Here is a summary of the current state of Covid-19 sick leave and family leave laws that apply to workers in the state of Oregon. 

OREGON SICK LEAVE

  • Oregon law requires employers to provide sick time. Employees get at least 1 hour of protected sick time for every 30 hours they work. 
    • “Protected” means you cannot be fired for taking this leave. 
    • Employees must be employed at least 90 days before using sick time.
    • Sick time is capped at 40 hours per year, and is not required to be paid. However: 
    • Employers who have 10+ employees (6+ in Portland) must provide PAID SICK LEAVE at the sick employee’s regular rate of pay. 

  • Self-distancing is not protected sick leave. An employee who is afraid to gather in groups and does not want to go to work because of virus exposure is not entitled to protected sick leave. However: 
    • Employers are required to provide a safe working environment for workers. That includes providing relevant personal protective equipment, implementing social distancing protocols, providing teleworking options if available, and keeping records of workers who suspect workplace exposure or infection.  (You can report your employer’s safety violations to OSHA by clicking here.)
    • Closure of your workplace by a public official due to a public health emergency qualifies as a protected absence from work. 
    • Complying with an order to quarantine by a public health authority qualifies as a protected absence from work. 

  • Temporary/Permanent Shutdowns: If an employer permanently shuts down due to Covid-19, the employer is not required to pay accrued sick time on termination. 
    • If an employer temporarily shuts down due to Covid-19:  Employees are entitled to use accrued sick time for temporary shutdowns in the event of a public health emergency.
    • If an employee is re-hired within 180 days of a shutdown, the employer must reinstate any balance of accrued but unused paid sick time.

OREGON FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE (OFLA)

  • OFLA applies to employers with 25 or more employees in the current or previous year.
    • To qualify for leave benefits, employees must have worked at least 180 calendar days and an average of 25 hours a week (except for parental leave, when no weekly average is required).

  • OFLA-covered employers must provide up to 12 weeks of protected time off for any “serious health condition” an employee or their family member develops. 
    • “Protected” means you cannot be fired for taking this leave.
    • OFLA leave is generally unpaid. However, employees on OFLA leave have a right to access any available PAID time while on leave – including accrued sick or vacation leave.
    • Employees can use sick time for many reasons, including if the employee or a family member is sick, injured, experiencing mental illness, or needs to visit the doctor.​
    • For employees covered by employer-provided health insurance, that coverage continues during OFLA leave. 
    • Notify your employer immediately if you wish to apply for OFLA leave. 

  • OFLA protection for Parents: Under Governor Brown’s emergency order issued March 18, 2020, Oregon employees can use OFLA Leave to take protected time off to care for their children during official school closures to limit the spread of COVID-19. This leave is not paid unless employees use available paid time off they have accrued. (This temporary protection applies from 03/18/2020 – 09/13/2020 to employers with 25+ employees).

FEDERAL PROTECTIONS: Federal Coronavirus Response Act:

  • Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Labor department may exclude: healthcare workers, first responders, employers with fewer than 50 employees.
  • Employers with fewer than 25 employees may not have to return workers to jobs that no longer exist due to Covid-related business changes
  • Effective beginning April 1, 2020
  • Contains two parts, Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Protected Family Leave:
  • Paid Sick Leave: 
  • A full-time employee is eligible for 80 hours of paid leave, and a part-time employee is eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period, IF the employee in unable to work/telework because the employee
    • is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
    • has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
    • is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis; or
    • is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine order or self-quarantine. 
  • Depending on the reason for leave, employees will either be paid their regular rate of pay or ⅔ their rate of pay during leave period.

  • Expanded Protected Family Leave: 
  • If a full-time employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19, the employee is eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave (two weeks of paid sick leave followed by up to 10 weeks of paid expanded family & medical leave) at 40 hours a week. A part-time employee is eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that period.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?