Oregon Allows Sick Leave for Heat, Air Quality and Evacuations

Management of Compliance & Legal

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issued a temporary rule expanding the permissible uses of employee sick time under state law, stating that it was responding to recent wildfires, evacuation orders, dangerous air quality conditions and a deadly heat event in the state. The rule took effect July 22, 2021, and remains in effect through Jan. 17, 2022.

New Reasons for Leave
The new rule adds to the Oregon Sick Time Law’s public health emergency reasons for leave, allowing employees to take sick leave in the event of:

  • An emergency evacuation order of level 2 (SET) or level 3 (GO) issued by a public official with authority to do so, if the area subject to the order includes the employer’s place of business or the employee’s home address; or
  • A determination by a public official with authority to do so that the air quality index or heat index are at a level where continued exposure would jeopardize the health of the employee.

Oregon Sick Time Law
The Oregon Sick Time Law requires employers to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers with at least 10 employees (six employees in Portland) must compensate employees at their regular pay rate during the leave.

Leave may generally be taken for the employee’s or a family member’s health or medical care; to care for a new baby or child; for bereavement; for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment and stalking; and for specific public health emergencies.