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Aug 05, 2021

OREGON: Sick time covers evacuation orders, bad air, and high heat

Leave LawsSafety and Health 

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) recently issued temporary rules expanding the reasons for Oregon paid sick leave to include time off related to emergency evacuation orders as well as unhealthy air quality or outdoor temperatures. The rules are effective from July 22, 2021, through January 17, 2022. The provision on evacuation orders applies when a public official issues an emergency evacuation order of level 2 (SET) or level 3 (GO) for an area where an employee’s home or workplace is located. The other provision applies when a public official determines “that the air quality index or heat index are at a level where continued exposure to such levels would jeopardize the health of the employee.”

Tips: It’s unclear whether BOLI intended the second provision to require a local public official to actually make an announcement that the air quality index (AQI) or heat index are at unhealthy levels, or whether published governmental data would be sufficient. From a practical standpoint, it doesn’t really matter. If an employee says they’re feeling ill due to poor air quality or high temperatures, the time off will be covered under Oregon sick leave anyway.

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