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Some Bend businesses oppose sick leave proposal


How would you feel about five guaranteed days of paid sick leave? The Oregon Legislature is considering requiring businesses with 10 or more employees to provide sick leave, and some Central Oregon businesses are opposed to the proposal.

“It’s a hardship on small business,” Lori Anton, the general manager of Consolidated Towing in Bend, said Wednesday.

A Bend woman who asked to remain anonymous said, “We would probably then have to have less than 10 employees,” to avoid the costly requirement.

The law would require businesses like Consolidated Towing to pay employees when they take up to five days off for illness each year.

“It’s going to have to raise the goods and costs of services for everybody,” Anton said. “We’ll have to raise our prices to cover the expenses that we now have to bear.”

Consolidated Towing is one of a handful of businesses that have reached out to the Bend Chamber of Commerce, hoping to fight the proposed paid sick leave bill.

“We want people to healthy,” said Jamie Christman, government affairs director at the Bend Chamber. “We want people to take care of their loved ones, and certainly a great employer does too — but not at the expense of closing the doors or having to let go of their own employees they love so dearly.”

One Bend man NewsChannel 21 spoke with says it shouldn’t always be about dollars and cents. Employers should try to keep employee morale in mind.

“In Europe, by far they have much more time off than we do, so I think … employees would do a lot more and maybe feel better about their jobs,” the anonymous Bend man said.

With 23 employees, Anton believes mandating paid sick leave would be too much of a burden, but she is willing to make exceptions under the current “paid time off” program.

“I’m always going to try to take care of our staff, and if I need to make a special situation and allow someone to go home early and take care of a child or something like that, I’m always going to try to do that,” Anton said.

The bill, SB 454, continues to pick up steam in Salem and could come to a vote in the Senate as soon as next week.

It’s also the topic of our new KTVZ.COM Poll, which you can find halfway down the right side of the home page.

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