Farmers urged to comment on sick time rules

It’s not too late to comment on BOLI’s new sick time rules!

Since enactment of Oregon’s sick time law (SB 454) in January 2016, BOLI technical assistance has heard from thousands of employers who have struggled to understand the new law. BOLI reopened the rules in Summer 2016 to address some of these concerns, and OFB participated in rulemaking with other business groups. Unfortunately, many of OFB’s requests for clarity were unheard, and BOLI’s revised rules will significantly burden family farmers and ranchers in Oregon.

Proposed changes to Oregon Sick Time rules:

SUPPORT: Temporary location language
BOLI clarified that a business with a temporary location in Portland (i.e. a farm stand) will not be required to pay Portland Sick Time (6+ employees). This is a necessary fix that will help farmers who have temporary farm stands in Portland.
OPPOSE: Changes to employee count
SB 454 states that family members are exempt from the employee count for the purposes of qualifying for paid sick leave. However, in the proposed rules, BOLI determined that only family members working under a Sole Proprietorship are exempt from the employee count, not those of C-Corps, S-Corps or LLCs. This narrow interpretation of the law will burden small and mid-sized farm families. OFB urges BOLI to redraft this provision to lessen the regulatory burden on Oregon’s family run businesses.
OPPOSE: Piece rate pay calculation
BOLI departs from early interpretations of SB 454 by requiring farmers to average employees’ earnings over a pay period to calculate the “regular rate of pay” for piece rate employees. Under a piece rate pay system, workers have the ability to earn more than the stated hourly rate based on a ‘productivity incentive’. BOLI’s proposed rules run counter to this logic, mandating that employers pay a ‘productivity incentive’ to employees taking their paid sick days. OFB asks BOLI to adhere legislative intent and redraft this provision in accordance with the language in SB 454.

The deadline is fast approaching to comment on Oregon’s sick time law, and it’s important that you submit comments to BOLI by September 26! Don’t let your voice go unheard in the second round of rulemaking!

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