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Passed by the House today, SB 454 is good for Oregon families, good for business, and good for public health
(Salem, Ore.)—The Oregon House today passed Senate Bill 454-B by a vote of 33 to 24. The legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Steiner Hayward of Beaverton and Representative Vega Pederson of Portland, will extend a moderate number of protected and paid sick days to more working Oregonians. SB 454 now heads to Governor Kate Brown, who is expected to sign the bill, making Oregon the fourth state to pass statewide sick days legislation.
“I’m proud to say that access to sick days will be a reality for every Oregonian. As a sponsor of the bill, this was a top priority for me,” said Representative Vega Pederson. “This policy will improve the lives of working families in every corner of our state. More parents will be free from making the heart wrenching choice between taking care of a sick child or losing a day of pay.”
In 2012, the Everybody Benefits Coalition set out to win paid sick time for workers throughout Oregon. The coalition has organized in communities across the state to give a voice to working Oregonians without access to this basic workplace standard. Everybody Benefits supported both the Cities of Portland and Eugene in passing their own city ordinances in 2013 and 2014.
“This is a historic vote for the hundreds of thousands of workers across our state who don’t have access to sick time where they work,” said Andrea Paluso, Everybody Benefits Coalition Chair and Family Forward Oregon Executive Director. “We applaud the many Oregon legislators who stood up for working families today and finally removed this barrier to good health and economic security. Ensuring access to sick time sends a message loud and clear: Oregonians believe working families do better when they have the tools they need to care for themselves and their families without sacrificing income or their employment.”
SB 454 will create a statewide standard so workers in businesses with 10 or more employees can earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours (about five days) in a year. Workers in smaller businesses with less than 10 employees will receive job protection for up to 40 hours of unpaid sick time a year. Paid or unpaid sick time can be used for the diagnosis, care or treatment of the worker or a member of their family or in instances of domestic violence. The bill also protects employees from retaliation or discrimination for the use of sick time.
“Today is a great day for Oregon,” said Representative Holvey. “This paid sick time law is a win for working families and all those who care about public health and economic security. I applaud everyone who supported and worked for the passage of this legislation. It's an important step forward in creating a healthier, stronger workforce for low-income workers who are still struggling to get by.”
Paid sick time has gained support all over the country over the last few years. According to the polls, 80% of Oregon voters—including 74% of Republicans and 96% of Independents—support efforts to ensure all workers have paid sick time. Among those are business owners who’ve shown strong support for the issue.
“Healthy workers are more productive workers," said Rosalind McCallard, Main Street Alliance member and owner of Snackrilege in Portland. "Sick days save employers money by reducing turnover and makes their employees feel valued. When my employees feel valued, they work harder. This policy is a win-win for Oregon's working families and our economy."