Portland’s Protected Sick Time Ordinance

Kevin Anderson Regulations

Is Your Trucking Company Required to comply with the City of Portland’s New Protected Sick Time Ordinance? You May be Surprised at the Answer . . .

Trucking companies with driver’s who deliver or pick up inside the city limits of Portland are subject to the city’s Protected Sick Time Ordinance if any of their drivers or employees spend 240 hours or more working inside the city limits during any given year, regardless of whether the company’s headquarters are inside the City of Portland. Failure to properly track driver work activities and implement Protected Leave policies for such employees could result in civil penalties or private lawsuits from covered employees.

The Basics:

On January 1, 2014, the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance came into effect. A grace period was granted to employers until July 1, 2014 before enforcement would begin, however, that has now passed and the City is prepared to enforce the Ordinance.

Under the ordinance, employers with six (6) or more employees must provide one hour of paid Sick Time for every thirty (30) hours of work performed within the City, and employers with five (5) or less employees must provide one hour of unpaid Sick Time for every thirty (30) hours of work performed within the City. Employees are entitled to accrue a maximum of forty (40) hours of Sick Time in any given year, although of course employers are allowed to allow greater accrual.

Working in the City:

All employers who have employees who perform work within the City of Portland are obligated to provide Protected Sick Time for the hours employees work within the City of Portland. Work within the city includes (but is not limited to):

  • Employees with their main office located physically within the City of Portland.
  • Telecommuters who work from their home or office which is located within the City of Portland;
  • Pick-ups, deliveries, or sales calls within the City of Portland; and
  • Temporary workers who perform work in the City of Portland;

Not included for the purposes of the Ordinance are:

  • Employees who merely pass thorough the City of Portland and make only incidental stops;
  • Independent contractors; and
  • Railroad workers exempted under the Federal Railroad Insurance Act.

Notice and Posting Requirements:

Employers must have a written policy or standard for an Employee to notify the Employer of the use of Protected Sick Time.

Employers must display a poster in each building and worksite in an area accessible to, and regularly frequented by employees, which informs employees of their rights under the Ordinance. The notice must be in English and any other language the employer normally uses to communicate with employees.

Further, employers must provide all current employees and new employees with a notice of their rights under the Ordinance, which must include their entitlement to Sick Time; information on usage of Sick Time; the prohibition of retaliation against Employees who request or use Sick Time; and an Employee’s right to file a complaint for non-compliance. Such notice was to be given to current eligible employees by February 5, 2014.

Continuing notice of accrued and unused Sick Time must be provided to employees on at least a quarterly basis.

Legal Enforcement:

The Protected Sick Time Ordinance can be enforced through both private rights of action by the employee, who is entitled to three times the dollar amount of the Sick Time refused, or through BOLI issued civil penalties. Further, employees have a private right of action in any court of competent jurisdiction for damages from failure to follow the Ordinance to the extent the law allows.

The Take-home:

This is a brief summary of a complex ordinance which requires in depth record keeping, tracking, and notice provisions that will affect businesses throughout the state and region. Many businesses will be caught unaware of their obligations under this Ordinance, because they will wrongfully assume that their physical location outside of the City of Portland will protect them from compliance. Please take some time to evaluate if the Ordinance applies to your company, and if so, protect your business by implementing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the Ordinance. Give us a call if you have any questions, and we can help with your evaluation and implementation if necessary.