Oregon’s Proposed Sick Leave Law Doesn’t Fit All

CascadeNewLogoBy Anna Mae Kersey

Senate Bill 454, which mandates that employers implement paid sick leave for employees, may leave small business owners and the agriculture industry in the dust.

SB 454 states, “Employers that employ at least 10 employees working anywhere in this state shall implement a sick time policy that allows an employee to earn and use up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year.” Employers with fewer than 10 employees must provide the same amount of sick time, but it can be unpaid.

For big businesses and corporations, this mandate might not pose a problem; many larger companies already offer competitive benefits packages that include paid sick leave and vacation time.

For small businesses and the agriculture industry, however, 40 hours of paid sick time per year translate into five days during which the employer will not only be short an employee, but will still be compensating that employee for his or her time.

According to the Associated Oregon Industries, 88,000 business owners in Oregon employ fewer than 50 people. Although the Senate had the opportunity to accommodate those industries, that motion failed. By forcing business owners to take a uniform approach, instead of one tailored specifically to best suit both the employer and the employee, this bill could have real economic consequences.

These business owners will now likely have to cut costs by downsizing their companies, lowering wages, and increasing prices in order to offset the mandate’s impact.

Anna Mae Kersey is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market think tank. She recently graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with an Honors B.A. in Philosophy and is pursuing a Master’s of Liberal Arts at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Economy, Employment, OR 78th Legislative Session, Oregon Senate, State Government | Tagged , , | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • hardworker

    If I am sick and cannot work I must have paid leave.
    Nothing else makes any sense.
    Get it and get it now.

    • Over N Out

      Must have mandatory paid sick leave, eh?
      Twit resounds michael moore-like a governmentiumist domiciled w’ congregationales letting out all snorts of ‘arts into a twalet Zone of left bling contextism faux entitlements.
      Alles all entity now: Putz em out, free basing upon on the farings of a John Denverous Aeroplane gliding over and enterprising into Flea Enterprise nolo cost effective bay.

    • thevillageidiot

      not really a hard worker. just need to set aside a savings account called a rainy day fund. it will rain. Don’t listen dave ramsey either.

  • Bob Clark

    Who needs a union to cripple your industry, when you’ve got the state government acting in its place? Why pay union dues when you’ve got the state to regiment and rigor mortis your working environment?

  • losers at the legislature

    The Oregon legislature what an ignorant body of thought. This will be one abused law by the employee. Businesses will have to raise their prices. At least business will be able to deduct this cost from their income tax. At the minimum wage of $15.00 that is $600.00 per year more cost to hire an employee. Good luck with that you losers at the legislature.

  • Eric Blair

    So those people who work in small businesses just have to suck it up and either come to work sick (and make everyone else sick) or lose pay… which many of them probably can’t afford to do.

    @thevillageidiot: many people don’t earn enough to create any useful savings account. Especially if they have children. Or.. they simply deplete their savings.

    It’s nice to know that CPI’s sometimes nod to working people is just a sham. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s always about what is best for business, and not what is best for workers.

    • guest

      Eric Blair, aka, John Reed, exhale. Too bad so sad Annette Benning has yet to fully close out the mount on her trophy wall.

  • MrBill

    I’ve had a number of jobs over the years, some with paid sick leave and some without. One thing I can say is that there are jobs where it’s kind of unnecessary and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Doing farm work and working at a DQ are a couple examples. No doubt there are more.

    I still think it’s best to give employers the freedom to offer sick benefits or not. Even for positions that are higher up on the employment ladder.

    • Eric Blair

      Why doesn’t it make sense to give farm workers or employees at dq sick leave?

      • Myke

        It may make sense to give them sick leave, it doesn’t make sense to impose it on employers through the barrel of a gun.

      • MrBill

        Because a lot of these kinds of jobs are summer jobs for HS and college students, and missing a day due to sickness doesn’t impose a significant hardship.

        Of course if the employer wants to offer paid sick leave, he’s free to do so regardless of the type of job he’s offering. I just don’t think he should be required to do so.

        • CrazyCarl

          I called in sick to take a cruise I had been dreaming of…and I got paid while I was in Cancun.
          Cool.
          But then I actually did get sick…norovirus…some might say karma…but I say dumb luck.
          Anyway, I was plastered out of my mind most of the time so did not really even know I was that sick until I got home. Then I had to take some more sick leave…they finally quit paying me as I was off for over 3 weeks….and then they fired me.
          So, I am not sure about this sick leave issue but I will tell you this…it is ripe with potential for abuse.

          • MrBill

            Sick leave always is. When it comes to sick leave there’s two kinds of people. Those with booku sick leave and those with none. Not a lot in between.

          • .

            Appraises be unto thee and “May you live all the days of your life” flinching at the sight of your rainbow, *hristian Longo, flee brain.

  • mumzie

    Would potential employees prefer to choose between paid sick leave or a job? This is one more job killer out of Salem.
    Don’t forget – when an employer pays wages, the employer also pays approx. 45% more than those wages in taxes and overhead already!!! So if you’re looking at a (new) minimum wage employee at $13 per hour, that 40 hours isn’t just $520 – it’s more like $750 cost to the employer. That number comes RIGHT OFF THE BOTTOM LINE of a business’s income/profitability. With NO contribution to the company.
    The solution to sick leave, vacation time, health benefits, and wage increases is very simple – WHEN OREGON’S ECONOMY IS THRIVING, employers COMPETE for employees. The employers that offer the best benefits wins and gets the best employees. When the economy is down, like Oregon’s, government feels they have to step in. And that just makes it worse. Much worse.

  • Scott Huish

    This is messed up. If you work at a company that has around 10 people working, they are going to cut their staff to get under the 10 employee limit. They have to stop making loopholes. If they actually want all employees in the state of Oregon to have sick leave, it needs to apply across the board. But by making an employer pay for it depending on the number of employees only ensures that the business will have less than 10 employees if it is feasible to do so.

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