Sick leave for part-time workers approved by Eugene City Council

Sick leave for part-time workers approved by Eugene City Council »Play Video
Not now, but July 2015

EUGENE, Ore. - A local ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick time to part-time employees passed the Eugene City Council 5-3 Monday night.

The measure takes effect in July 2015.

The proposal was unpopular with many businesses, including ones in Springfield and other communities.

The City of Eugene aimed to make the requirement apply to all work done within the city, regardless of where a company is headquartered.

Lane County took action last week to limit that aspect of the City's ordinance.

"Doing paid sick leave this way at the city level garauntees one thing: we've just started a legal fight with the county," said Councilor Mike Clark, who voted against the measure.

Others felt the benefit is long overdue - and it was time to act locally.

"The United States is the only industrialized county in the world that does not provide this benefit to its workers," Councilor Alan Zelenka said.

Since the first discussion 6 months ago, the ordinance has changed, said Councilor Claire Syrett, who voted to pass the measure.

"We are trying to get after folks who really are working in the city on a regular basis," she said, "and those are the folks we want covered by this ordinance."

Syrett said the ordinance passed will exempt companies that already have paid timeoff policies.

It will also exempt local governments and building trades who are already covered by collective bargaining arrangements.

And for employers based outside city limits, workers can only acrue paid sick leave if they are scheduled to work at least 240 hours within the Eugene city limits.

If applicable, workers will earn 1 hour paid time off for every 30 hours worked.

"We are really looking to cover what we estimated to be about 25,000 mostly low-wage workers who right now have not had this protection," Syrett said.