Oregon Sick Leave law: Are we required to provide more time off?
Q: We give employees the choice of whether to apply paid time to sick leave absences or hold on to it for vacation. Several employees used up all of their protected leave for vacation, but now they’re calling in sick. Do we have to give them more time off for sick leave or can we count the absence under our attendance policy?
A: The Oregon Sick Leave law requires that qualifying employers allow employees to apply up to 40 hours of paid time for sick leave purposes each year. If employees use all of their paid time for vacation, they may not have any time left for sick leave. The Oregon law does not require employers to provide an additional 40 hours, whether paid or unpaid, if an employee chooses to use all of their paid time for purposes other than sick time. So, an employee who has exhausted all paid time could be subject to discipline for taking time off when there is no remaining time available. However, there could be other protections for a qualifying absence that would still apply, such as Oregon Family Leave or Crime Victim’s Leave, or you may need to make further inquiries to determine if the employee is seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability. For help in navigating a specific situation, you should check in with an attorney before denying an employee’s time off.