Oregon Senate Passes Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Bill

| by Sean Kelly

The Oregon Senate approved a bill that would require businesses with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick leave.

Forty-seven percent of Oregon workers in the private sector and 71 percent of workers in the state who earn less than $20,000 a year currently do not get paid sick leave, according to a public health data analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The bill, which passed by a 17-13 vote, aims to change that. It now heads to the state House for a vote, and then to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown's desk.

Of all the thousands of bills I voted on in the time that I've been here, I think this is going to be the vote that I'm the proudest to cast,” Democratic state Sen. Diane Rosenbaum said. “This is a bill that will do so much good for thousands and thousands of Oregonians and their families."

Jeff Anderson, chair of the Oregon Working Families Party, applauded the Senate’s vote.

Today's vote in the Oregon Senate is a victory for every mom or dad who cannot stay home with a sick child for fear of losing pay," he said. "Working families are struggling. Paid sick days are a smart way to make people's lives a little bit easier."

Despite optimism that the bill will pass in the House, many Republicans in the state voiced their opposition, saying that it would put a burden on businesses.

“I support paid sick leave,” Republican state Sen. Tim Knopp said.”I don't support an unfunded mandate on businesses crammed down their throat by government."

The bill, if approved, would cost the state $4.4 million between 2015 and 2017, and would take effect the first of the year 2016. Oregon would be the fourth state, if the measure becomes law, to guarantee paid sick leave. Massachusetts, Connecticut and California all currently have paid sick leave laws in place.

Sources: Huffington Post, KATU, The Oregonian

Sources: nwpr.org, uselectionatlas.org