Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Rule Rule 839-007-0007
Front-loading Sick Time


(1)

In lieu of awarding at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours an employee works, an employer may satisfy its obligations under ORS 653.606 (Employee count)(1) and these rules by front-loading at least 40 hours of sick time or time off at the beginning of each year used to calculate the accrual and usage of sick time or time off; or, if the employer invokes the “undue hardship” exception of ORS 653.621 (Minimum use increments)(1)(b) and requires its employees to use sick time in minimum increments of more than 1 hour, by front-loading 56 hours of sick time or time off at the beginning of each year used to calculate the accrual and usage of sick time or time off.

(a)

“Front-load,” except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, means to assign and make available a certain number of hours of sick time to an employee as soon as the employee becomes eligible to use sick time and on the first day of the immediate subsequent year, without regard to an accrual rate.

(b)

For employees employed by an employer for less than a full year, “front-load” means to assign and make available to an employee as soon as the employee becomes eligible to use sick time a number of hours of sick time that is the pro rata percentage of the hours to which the employee would be entitled for an entire year based on the number of hours the employee was actually employed by the employer for the year. For example, if an employer uses the calendar year to calculate usage of sick time or time off, and, on January 1 of each year, regularly front-loads 40 hours of sick time or time off for employees regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week or more, then the employer, as soon as the employee becomes eligible to use sick time, would front-load 20 hours of sick time or time off to an employee whose first day of employment is July 1 and who is regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week.

(2)

An employer may award sick time on an accrual basis for certain classes of employees while front-loading sick time hours for other classes of employees, as long as any distinctions the employer makes in how it awards sick time to different classes of employees are based on customary employment classifications established by the employer for reasons unrelated to its obligation to provide sick time. For example, an employer may award sick time on an accrual basis for employees paid on an hourly wage basis, while front-loading sick time for employees paid on a salary basis, if it customarily maintains different employment classifications for hourly and salaried employees. Similarly, an employer may award sick time on an accrual basis for part-time or temporary employees, while front-loading sick time for full-time employees, if it customarily maintains different employment classifications for part-time, temporary, and full-time employees.
(3)(a) An employer may adopt a system whereby it awards sick time or time off on an accrual basis for employees until they have worked for the employer for a designated length of time, while front-loading sick time or time off for all employees in similar job classifications once they have achieved that designated length of service. For example, an employer may adopt a system whereby hourly employees are awarded sick time or time off on an accrual basis from their start date until the beginning of the year that the employer uses to calculate the accrual and usage of sick time, or the first such year that follows the first anniversary of the employee’s initial employment.

(b)

When an employer converts an employee from an accrual-based system to a system in which it front-loads the employee’s sick time or time off, and the employee has accrued less than 40 hours of sick time or time off on the date of the change (or less than 56 hours, if the employer requires sick time to be taken in minimum increments of more than one hour but no more than four hours under the undue hardship exception set forth in ORS 653.621 (Minimum use increments)(1)(b)), the employer satisfies the requirements of ORS 653.606 (Employee count)(1) by front-loading the sum of: (a) the amount of hours the employee has accrued under the employee’s accrual system; and (b) the difference between 40 hours (or 56 hours, if the employer requires sick time to be taken in minimum increments of four hours under the undue hardship exception set forth in ORS 653.621 (Minimum use increments)(1)(b)) and that amount of accrued hours.

(c)

If an employee has accrued more than 40 hours of sick time or time off on the date that an employer converts from an accrual system to a front-loading system for awarding the employee sick time or time off (or more than 56 hours, if the employer requires sick time to be taken in minimum increments of more than one hour but no more than four hours under the undue hardship exception set forth in ORS 653.621 (Minimum use increments)(1)(b)), the employer may not front-load an amount of hours that is less than the amount of hours the employee has already accrued.

(4)

An employer may front-load by paying employees for at least 40 hours of sick time at the beginning of the year and allowing the employee to take at least 40 hours of sick time during the year. Sick time taken after the initial front-load payment does not have to be paid at the time sick time is taken.
Source

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021