Employer Alert: Guidance for Employers on Coronavirus

Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle have made a joint statement of guidance for employers regarding coronavirus. At EARTH Law, we believe this is valuable information for our clients and friends to be aware of.

Here is the statement in its entirety:


“Oregon Secretary of State

Employer Alert: Guidance for employers on coronavirus

Oregon Secretary of State sent this bulletin at 03/14/2020 11:20 AM PDT

We wanted to offer some guidance on a few employment laws that you may have questions concerning coronavirus. As always, it is critically important to understand and adhere to state laws that protect both workers and businesses.

The State of Oregon has many resources available for businesses and employers. Employers can call the Technical Assistance hotline at 971-673-0824 or email bolita@boli.state.or.us

Sick Time

  • All employees get sick time. If you have 10+ employees (or 6+ in Portland), that time must be paid.
  • Accrual rate is 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
  • Employees can use sick time to care for themselves, family members, for visits to medical professionals. Sick time can also be used if your child’s school is closed by order of a public official for a public health emergency, such as Governor Brown’s current closure of all K-12 schools.
  • Here is a poster about sick time you can share with employees.
  • You can find more information on sick time & coronavirus, including a fact sheet, here.

Oregon Family Leave (OFLA)

  • OFLA applies to employers with 25+ employees
  • Oregonians can use Oregon Family Leave to take protected time off to care for their children during official school closures related to coronavirus. This leave is not paid unless employees use available paid time off they have, but it is protected.

Predictive Scheduling 

  • Oregon’s predictive scheduling law applies only to employers with 500+ employees and requires certain advance notice of scheduling changes.
  • This pandemic may result in decreases to business’ staffing needs (or unpredictable staffing needs and worker availability).
  • This law provides for employer relief for extenuating circumstances such as natural disasters or declarations of public officials. This includes current emergency declarations by Governor Brown.
  • Proactive communication is at the heart of this law. Employers should be proactive in communicating with employees about their operations and schedules. This virus situation changes every day, and it is a good practice for employers to communicate every day.
  • Now is the time for employers to engage in the proactive activities suggested in the law to prepare for the lack of certainty in demand and scheduling to best support employees and business operations (i.e. establishing group communications, list of workers who are available to work on demand, voluntary stand-by list, frequent scheduling updates, etc.).
  • You can learn more about predictive scheduling here.

Preventing Discrimination

  • We continue to hear anecdotal reports of people experiencing discrimination because of fears of coronavirus, particularly around race or national origin.
  • Discrimination based on race, national origin, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and other characteristics is illegal and wrong.
  • In scary times, sometimes people act with poor judgment or without facts out of fear– that’s not okay if it results in disparate treatment based on protected characteristics.
  • As an employer, you can help stop and prevent discrimination.

Work Share Oregon

Employers are encouraged to check into Work Share Oregon, which can support businesses and workers to avoid mass layoffs and lost wages and benefits in times like these. Work Share can be reached at 800-436-6191 or email: oed_workshare@oregon.gov.

Small Business Advocacy

Businesses without employees or with fewer than 100 employees can contact the Office of Small Business Assistance via email at business.sos@oregon.gov or by calling toll free 1-844-469-5512.”

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