The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

Ag anger over paid sick leave training fee

January 20, 2016

Agriculture & Business Groups Call on BOLI for Free Sick Leave Seminars

Express Disappointment on $25 Fee for Training Seminars

Portland: “We are disappointed that BOLI would not only delay their implementation seminars until after the effective date of the new statewide paid sick leave law but also charge Oregon’s employers $25 to attend just to learn how to comply,” stated Jenny Dresler of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) released final paid sick leave rules on December 9, 2015. The rules, necessary for employers across Oregon to implement the new Legislatively mandated 5-days of paid sick leave, leave only 22 days for small and large businesses alike to read, review and implement the 15-pages of new administrative rules.

“Our members have been waiting since the Legislature adjourned in July for these rules. Now they have less than 22 days to try to decipher the 15-pages of finalized rules and put a new system in place. It is tough enough for small employers to know the rules when delays plague critical and concise information being available and now – charging those very employers for access. It is my view that BOLI has a responsibility to provide timely information and something we could use on January 1. They failed and it is a big disappointment,” stated Jeff Stone of the Oregon Association of Nurseries.

Key components of the newly released rules include how to calculate whether or not a company reaches the 10-employee threshold count–a vital mathematic formula that results in either paid or unpaid sick days as well as notice and accrual requirements.

“We have real concerns with the calculation of employees under these rules,” stated Dresler.

She continued, “It appears our farmers will have to double count temporary laborers, something that was never the intent of the Legislature. This will result in thousands of farmers and small business owners, many of whom operate on slim margins, being thrown into the new of paid sick leave requirements.”

BOLI has stated they will delay agency penalties until 2017, however, the law as adopted in SB 454, allows employees to seek private lawsuits against employers starting January 1, 2016.

“This is very concerning, and employers should not be left with the impression that they are entirely protected from any legal recourse should they not be in compliance immediately January 1, 2016,” stated Betsy Earls of Associated Oregon Industries. “We are disappointed that a safe harbor and transition period was not written into the rules.”

“To say we are frustrated with the final rules is an understatement. Oregon is only the fourth state in the nation with a statewide paid sick leave policy. I think this speaks to the care and consideration that should have been taken when crafting these rules, allowing significant time to implement this sweeping policy change for Oregon’s employers,” stated John Rakowitz of Associated General Contractors.

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CONTACT: Jeff Stone, Oregon Association of Nurseries, [email protected]

John Rakowitz, Associated General Contractors, [email protected]

Betsy Earls, Associated Oregon Industries, [email protected]

Jenny Dresler, Oregon Farm Bureau, [email protected]

  
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