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COVID-19 Resources

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of life in Oregon and around the world. Find tools and answers for questions you may have about COVID-19 at work.

We are here to answer your questions

OSHA is handling complaints of businesses or other places not following social distancing guidelines and the Governor's executive orders. You can make a complaint here.

If you’re a worker, please call 971-673-0761 or email help@boli.state.or.us

If you’re an employer, please call 971-673-0824 or email bolita@boli.state.or.us

If you’re a member of the press, please call Jenny Smith at 503-805-3853 or email jenny.smith@state.or.us.

Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide

Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide for indoor public spaces (for example, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, personal services providers, restaurants, bars, retail stores, and more).

In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Starting July 24: Children age 5 and up are required to wear a mask, face shield or face covering.

Face coverings are now also required when exercising indoors, plus outdoors when you can’t physically distance.

People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from the business if they cannot wear a mask, face shield or face covering.

​The Quarantine Fund provides temporary financial assistance to Oregon agricultural workers who are 18 years or older, recovering from COVID-19, seeking healthcare, and practicing quarantine and isolation.​ Learn more: https://workerrelief.org/quarantine-fund/

The COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program is available to people who need to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19 exposure or are experiencing symptoms and need a medical diagnosis, but do not qualify for COVID-19-related paid sick leave (or do not have access to COVID-19-related paid time off).​ Learn more: https://www.oregon.gov/dcbs/covid-pl/pages/index.aspx​

(​​​Please note that the Oregon Employment Department handles these benefits.​)

The quickest way to file a claim for unemployment benefits or get help is to use their online services here: https://unemployment.oregon.gov/

Unemployment benefits are available in a lot of circumstances to help Oregonians who are being laid off or are temporarily out of work.

If you have been laid off or your hours have been cut, you should file your claim with the Oregon Employment Department.

Additional contact information for the Oregon Employment Department:​

Email OED_COVID19_Info@oregon.gov​
Portland Area: (503) 292-2057
Salem Area: (503) 947-1500
Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: (541) 388-6207
TOLL FREE: (877) 345-3484​

​​

​People are experiencing discrimination because of fears of coronavirus, particularly around race or national origin or wearing masks.

A business cannot turn you away (and your employer can’t ask you to leave work) simply because they think your race or national origin make you more likely to have or spread coronavirus.

Discrimination based on race, national origin, age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and other characteristics is illegal and wrong.​​

If you feel you have been discriminated against, please click here.


Oregon law gives all employees sick time – including part time workers. If your employer has 10 or more employees or 6 or more if they have operations in Portland, you get PAID sick time.

You can use sick time for many reasons, including if you or a family member is sick, injured, experiencing mental illness, or need to visit the doctor.​
  • You can also use sick time if your child's school is closed by order of a public official for a public health emergency.
  • Part time workers get sick time. Workers whose company is headquartered out of state get sick time.
  • You get at least 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours you work OR your employer can front-load 40 hours.
  • You are eligible to use sick time on your 91st day of employment, but your employer can let you take leave sooner.
If you run out of sick time, you may be able to use Oregon Family Leave time (see below).​

The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) provides for time off for you to care for a sick child for an illness, injury, or condition that is not serious, and now after emergency rulemaking by Commisioner Val Hoyle, employees​ who need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed because of COVID-19​.

It also provides for time off if you or a family member has a serio​​us health condition, to grieve the death of a family member or to bond with a new child.
  • OFLA time is protected but unpaid. You can use any accrued paid time you have.
  • You are eligible for OFLA if you work for an employer with at least 25 employees and you have worked for your employer for 180 days before taking leave.
  • ​For most purposes you must also have worked an average of at least 25 hours per week in the 180 days before taking leave.​


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires covered employers to provide emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19:
  • Emergency Sick Leave
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) at full pay because of the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; OR
    • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) at two-thirds pay to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Expanded FMLA for employees employed for at least 30 days = Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s pay as leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Potential exemptions for employers with fewer than 50 employees.


Questions? Contact U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division​.​ BOLI does not have jurisdiction over this new law but we may be able to point you in the right direction.

More helpful information from the US Department of Labor:
 Employers must pay workers by the close of the next business day during a layoff expected to last more than 35 days.

Employers do not have to pay out unused sick time or vacation time upon termination unless they’ve committed to doing so in their policies. However, employees have a right to their previous unused sick time bank if they’re re-hired within 180 days.​
Predictive scheduling laws protect workers from last minute scheduling changes that could negatively imp​act their income.​

L​abor Commissioner Val Hoyle has made emergency rules during the COVID-19 pandemic on Oregon Family Leave and overtime rules in manufacturing.

Stay up to date on recent press and news releases from the Bureau of Labor and Industries.​



Frequently asked questions

For workers

Sick Time & COVID

Am I allowed to take time off if I am sick or someone in my family is sick?

Yes. Oregon law protects sick time. You get at least 1 hour of protected sick time for every 30 hours you work. Your employer can also front-load your sick time by giving you 40 hours in one chunk at the beginning of your benefit year. You can start taking sick time after you’ve worked for your employer for at least 90 days. You can use sick time for many reasons, including if you or a family member is sick, injured, experiencing mental illness, or need to visit the doctor. If your employer has 10 or more employees (or six or more if they have a location in Portland), they must give you paid sick time at your regular wage (up to 40 hours per year). Otherwise, sick time is unpaid but still protected. If you work for an employer with at least 25 employees, chances are you are also eligible to take up to 12 weeks of protected time for any “serious health condition” you or a family member develops. Under the Oregon Family Leave Act, you have a right to access any available paid leave while on protected time.

Finally, the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act created additional paid and protected leave for employees impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Paid Sick Leave and expanded access to FMLA leave is regulated by the US Department of Labor.

Basic information is available online here with contacts for questions available here.

If my daughter’s elementary school or summer camp is closed because of COVID-19, can I use sick time? I don’t have that much sick time saved. What then?

Yes - employees have a right to use sick time for a closure of their child’s school (or place of care) by order of a public official due to a public health emergency. While sick time is not without limit, it may be that you and your employer can work out for a more flexible arrangement to allow for teleworking or working alternate hours. Additionally, if you work for an employer with at least 25 employees, chances are you are also eligible to take up to 12 weeks of protected time for any “serious health condition” you or a family member develops as well as well as care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed on account of COVID-19. Under the Oregon Family Leave Act, you have a right to access any available paid leave while on protected time.

Are parents in Oregon eligible to use Oregon Family Leave if their kids’ school or summer camp is closed by order of Governor Kate Brown to limit the spread of coronavirus?

Oregonians can use Oregon Family Leave to take protected time off to care for their children during official school closures to limit the spread of coronavirus. This leave is not paid unless employees use available paid time off they have, but it is protected. (Paid family leave is coming to Oregon in 2023.) 

The Oregon Family Leave Act provides for time off to care for a sick child for an illness, injury, or condition that is not serious, or school closures by order of a public official during a public health emergency even if the individual child is not sick. A school closure by Governor Brown based on CDC and World Health Organization guidance constitutes action to prevent a serious health crisis/pandemic. Children may be at risk or create a risk by being together and thus require home care by parents and other caregivers. Employees who work for an organization that has at least 25 employees (and meet other criteria) are eligible for OFLA.

More information about OFLA is available here.

Additional leave may be available under the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Am I required to get a doctor's note to use sick time?

Employers are not required to ask for doctor’s notes to take sick time. It is an option for employers after three consecutive days of sick leave, but in the midst of this pandemic, our healthcare professionals need to focus on genuine medical emergencies. Current CDC guidance for businesses is to actively encourage employees to stay home – and not to require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick.

Will I get paid if my employer temporarily closes the shop?

That depends. You would be entitled to use accrued sick time for temporary shutdowns in the event of a public health emergency. Employers with 10 or more employees (six if they have a location in Portland) have to provide sick time with pay. Employers would not have to pay sick time if they are forced to terminate employees altogether, though an employer may certainly choose to pay out unused paid sick time. If an employee is re-hired within 180 days, the employer must reinstate any balance of accrued but unused paid sick time and restore the employee's eligibility earned before the layoff. Employers can’t dock the pay of salaried exempt employees for business closure absences beyond the employee’s control unless the employee performs no work at all in a workweek. Employers must pay hourly employees for the hours they work.

Does my employer have to pay out sick time if I'm being laid off?

Employers are not required to pay out sick time, but they can always do so if they would like to.

Can I take sick time if I am being laid off?

In general, no. If you are re-hired within 180 days, the employer must reinstate any balance of accrued but unused paid sick time and restore whatever eligibility to use sick time you had when you left.

Will my employer tell me if someone comes down with coronavirus?

Employers do have a duty to provide a place of employment, free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause the death or serious physical harm to employees. That said, privacy laws will prevent your employer from sharing any specific medical information of another employee.

For employers

Sick Time & COVID

Can I require an employee traveling back from an affected area to stay home?

Yes, employers have the ability to ask an employee returning from an affected area (or exposure to a person with the disease) to stay home – but step softly here. The incubation period for a coronavirus is typically 14 days. If someone develops the disease, they may be contagious for longer. Potentially, this much time off could be a real hardship for employees. In addition, be sure a factual basis exists for a decision to exclude someone from the workplace – do not single out people of a specific national origin or race. Limiting travel may help to slow community spread of the virus, but recognize that it may be hard to define an area unaffected by COVID-19.

Employers may also send an employee home who appears to have symptoms of a contagious illness. Requiring medical certification would also be an option after a third consecutive absence. Keep in mind that an employer would need to cover any out-of-pocket expenses for obtaining the certification. Of course, any absence due to actual illness or an order by a public official declaring a public health emergency would trigger protected sick time.

For employers covered by OFLA or FMLA, a progression of the disease could result in a serious health condition that qualifies for protected leave (and a right to access to any other paid leave bank). With that in view, consider allowing telework options where appropriate and access to other paid leave banks.

Finally, the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act created additional paid and protected leave for employees impacted by COVID-19. Emergency Paid Sick Leave and expanded access to FMLA leave is regulated by the US Department of Labor. Basic information is available online here with contacts for questions available here.

My employee refuses to handle merchandise that came in from China and even sealed the shipment with biohazard tape. What now?

First, take a deep breath. Employers do have a general duty to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause the death or serious physical harm to employees. Employees also have the protected right to raise good faith concerns about the health and safety of the workplace (even if the employee is wrong on the merits). A calm conversation about actual risks, supplemented with trusted material from sources like the CDC on how viruses are transmitted may go a long way to alleviating concerns.

Can I require employees to provide a doctor's note to take sick time?

Employers are not required to ask for doctor’s notes to take sick time, but they are allowed to require them from employees who are taking sick leave of more than three consecutive days or who do not follow internal policies for taking sick time. However, in the midst of this pandemic, our healthcare professionals need to focus on genuine medical emergencies. Current CDC guidance continues to actively encourage employees to stay home as appropriate – and not to require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick.

Do I tell my employees if someone comes down with coronavirus?

Employers do have a duty to provide a place of employment, free from recognized hazards that cause or are likely to cause the death or serious physical harm to employees. That said, privacy laws will prevent you from sharing any specific medical information about that person with employees, including their identity. Best practice would be to let employees know that someone at work has tested positive and explain what steps are being taken in response to make the workplace safer.


Disclaimer: This website is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them and the law that was current when the responses were written. They are not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.​


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