Paid Sick Leave Survey

Paid Sick Leave

Industry and Association Poised to Oppose Key Issue

The City of Portland is considering adopting paid sick leave, which would give full and part-time employees the ability to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. Portland is looking at both Seattle and San Francisco’s ordinances, but will likely use San Francisco’s as a basis for drafting the rule.  

San Francisco’s ordinance strictly forbids shift trading. When employees are allowed to trade shifts, they get their hourly wages plus tips, whereas sick leave only provides employees with compensation for hourly wages lost. Therefore, employees statewide and across the nation are coming out against jurisdictions considering paid sick leave.

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) recently sent a survey to industry members to determine their position on paid sick leave. Not surprising, the survey had the highest response rate of any survey sent to the industry thus far, identifying this as a hot issue.

Over 89 percent of survey respondents (lodging and restaurants polled statewide) said ORLA should oppose a paid sick leave proposal. More than 76 percent said they have a system that allows employees to trade shifts with other employees when they are sick. Interestingly, paid sick leave was the least employee-requested benefit at a meager 4.6 percent, with wage increases showing as the most requested benefit for 67 percent of respondents.

ORLA had dozens of industry members and their employees agree to testify in opposition of a paid sick leave proposal should the subject come up for a hearing, especially if it bans shift trading.

This issue came up in the Legislature two sessions ago, so ORLA expects paid sick leave to become a major issue during the 2013 Legislative Session. We anticipate seeing a bill that will attempt to make paid sick leave a statewide issue. Additionally, we expect to see a bill that would preempt local governments’ ability to implement paid sick leave across Oregon.

Although preemption is ideal, we expect quite a fight in the Legislature to pass such a bill. Therefore we need your support, as well as the support of your employees, to avoid a statewide mandate. Thank you to all who took the time to respond to the survey and provide your perspective. ORLA will work closely with its members to resolve this issue.

For more information, please contact Nellie in ORLA’s government affairs department at 503.682.4422. | NELLIE deVRIES