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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

Beginning March 12, 2022, Oregon Health Authority has announced that the masking requirements for indoor spaces (OAR 333-019-1025) and schools (OAR 333-019-1015) will be no longer be in effect. OSHA continues to enforce masking requirements applicable to Exceptional Risk (primarily healthcare) settings. Details available here.

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked enforcement of federal OSHA's Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. Oregon OSHA has indicated on its website that it will not move forward with adopting the same or similar standard in Oregon.

If you’re a worker, please call 971-673-0761 or email BOLI_help@boli.oregon.gov

If you’re an employer, please call 971-361-8400 or email employer.assistance@boli.oregon.gov

If you’re a member of the press, please call 971-358-3943 or email media.contact@boli.oregon.gov

NOTE: This guidance is subject to change based on new information. Please check back frequently.

Beginning March 12, 2022, state policies no longer require masks in most settings.*

* OSHA continues to enforce masking requirements applicable to Exceptional Risk ​(primarily healthcare) settings.

Learn more about employment and civil rights laws related to vaccines.​ Employers can generally require workers to be vaccinated as a matter of employment.

Who pays for COVID-19 testing?

Most health insurance companies will waive co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. If you have questions about your health insurance coverage, contact your health insurance provider.

Employers are generally required to pay any out of pocket expenses for a medical exam they require. In addition, employees who are required to receive medical attention on the job or during normal working hours on days when they are working would need to be paid for that time. Finally, employers need to pay for time spent by an employee on tasks necessary for the work that they pay the employee to do. This could include​ time spent undertaking COVID-19 testing when the testing is required for a setting in order to perform the work.

(​​​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​ to learn more or file a complaint.​
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 protected 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.​ It also provide time to care for a sick child for an illness, injury, or condition that is not serious, as well as care for a child whose school or childcare provider has been closed because of a statewide public health emergency.

UPDATE - Effective January 1, 2022, employees may become eligible for OFLA at 30 days' employment (rather than 180) during a public health emergency. 

Governor Brown's Exective Order (EO) 21-36 had extended the declaration of a public health emergency through June 30, 2022. However, with COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers dropping rapidly across Oregon, Governor Brown later announced she would be lifting Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, effective April 1, 2022

In the absence of a current public health emergency declaration (such as for air quality or wildfires and the like) OFLA eligiblity for most new qualifying circumstances will require 180 days' employment. 




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. Otherwise, sick time is unpaid but still protected. If you work for an employer with at least 25 employees, you may also be 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.

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, you may also be 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. Note that the Governor has announced an end to the Covid-19 public health emergency effective April 1, 2022.

Are parents in Oregon eligible to use Oregon Family Leave if their kids’ school or summer camp is closed 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 due to a public health emergency. If summer camp is considered a “place of care,” and is closed to your child in conjunction with a public health emergency, Oregon Family Leave may be available. 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.

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, or if there is evidence of sick time abuse (such as a pattern of absence).

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?

Privacy laws will prevent your employer from sharing any specific medical information about a person who contracts COVID-19 with employees, including their identity. Currently, Oregon OSHA’s Temporary Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks does require that employers have an employee notification process in workplace exposures. See OAR 437-100-0744(3)(j). Note that Oregon OSHA guidance includes a model policy and indicates that current Oregon Health Authority rules require reporting of disease cases.

For employers

Sick Time & COVID

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

Yes, employers may 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.

My employee refuses to handle merchandise out of fear of contamination. 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. At this point the science seems to suggest that COVID-19 is primarily spread through the air and not on surfaces, but it is still prudent and consistent with OSHA health and safety rules to sanitize commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs and copier buttons. If it gives your employees peace of mind, they may choose to wear gloves or take other common-sense measures (like regular hand washing). It is important to communicate and demonstrate your commitment to health and safety in the workplace.

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 demonstrate evidence of abuse of sick time, as with patterns of absenteeism. However, remember that Oregon law requires employers to pay any out-of-pocket costs incurred by the employee in providing a medical certification required by the employer.

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

While privacy laws will prevent you from sharing any specific medical information about a person who contracts COVID-19 with employees, including their identity, Oregon OSHA’s current rule addressing COVID-19 workplace risks requires that employers have an employee notification process for when their employees were within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 individual for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more as well as affected employees – those who work in the same facility or in the same well-defined portion of the facility (such as on the same floor or in the same building within larger complex). See OAR 437-100-0744(3)(j). Note that Oregon OSHA guidance includes a model policy and indicates that current Oregon Health Authority rules require reporting of disease cases.


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.​