Mandatory benefits legislation is sweeping the nation — including, most recently, both Oregon and New York City.
Effective January 1, 2014, employers with twenty-five or more employees working in Oregon must provide bereavement leave to employees under the Oregon Family Leave Act (“OFLA”), as recently amended and subject to additional eligibility requirements. Employees may take up to two weeks of leave per death of a family member up to a maximum of twelve weeks in a twelve-month period. Although OFLA leave is unpaid, if employers allow employees to use paid sick leave for OFLA-qualifying events, then employees would receive paid bereavement leave. Oregon is the first state to require bereavement leave.
New York City joins San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Washington, D.C. in requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. Beginning April 1, 2014, employees working for companies with twenty or more workers in New York City will be eligible to earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time annually. Smaller employers will also be affected by the legislation to varying degrees.
Employers with out-of-state operations should keep these mandatory leave obligations in mind when reviewing their employee handbooks and related policies.