The flu is going around, and every time someone waits on me with the tell-tale signs I cringe and resent them for potentially exposing me to it. The truth is many workers in Portland feel like they need to work through it, because they don't get sick days. If they don't work, they don't get paid. According to the Portland Press Herald, a proposed Earned Paid Sick Time Ordinance could change that.

The new ordinance would require employers of both part time and full time employees, seasonal workers included, to:

  • Give employees one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked
  • Unused sick time would not restart at the beginning of the next year, it would roll over
  • Employees could not collect money for unused sick time
  • The City of Portland would enforce and investigate complaints within 15 days and if an employer was found to be in violation they would have to pay up to three times the amount of back wages and might also have to pay a $100.00 fine
  • A doctor's note is require after three sick days
  • Leave would be excused for the following reasons: mental or physical health, absence caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, caring for a family member

Even though there is a large amount of support for the Earned Paid Sick Day Ordinance, some businesses are worried that between the new minimum wage and offering paid sick days, they might not be able to stay afloat. Some employers worry about workers abusing the law. Many local organizations are holding off on taking a side as they consider what this could mean for business owners as well as employees. The City Council's Health and Human Services and Public Safety Committee will discuss the topic again on May 8th.