Bill to give Oregon Workers Time to Grieve passes the House HB 2950A Would Give Workers Up to Two Weeks Off to Grieve Family Death

April 15, 2013 – The Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill today that would give workers up to two weeks off to grieve the death of a family member.  

Supporters of House Bill 2950-A gave poignant testimony to the Business and Labor Committee during a public hearing in March. Two members of the committee – Representative Paul Holvey (D – Eugene) and Representative Shemia Fagan (D – East Portland/Clackamas) – shared personal stories of the challenges they faced in former jobs because they missed work days following the loss of a loved one.  

“As you can imagine, I was devastated (after my father died),” Rep. Fagan said on the House Floor today. “I left work for a week and traveled to The Dalles to grieve and plan his memorial service. When I returned to work for a large company and a good company, I was terminated.”  

House Bill 2950-A adds “death of a family member” to the 1995 Oregon Family Leave Act, which requires businesses with 25 or more employees to give workers job-protected time off in the cases of illness, injury, child birth or adoption.   

"We allow employees unpaid time off to take care of an ailing parent or child, but there is no job protection if they don't show up for work the day after that family member dies," said Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer (D – Portland), the chief sponsor of House Bill 2950-A. “This bill would ensure that Oregon workers have up to two weeks off to mourn, make arrangements, and attend services in honor of the lost family member.”  

Under House Bill 2950-A, workers would be able to take two weeks of unpaid leave following a family member’s death.  

“People shouldn’t be afraid of losing their jobs when they’re dealing with a death in the family,” House Majority Leader Val Hoyle (D – Eugene) said. “Jobs are hard enough to come by these days – we should help hard working Oregonians make it through this type of personal loss without losing their livelihoods, too.”  
House Bill 2950-A passed the House with a bipartisan 40-18 vote and now heads to the Senate.

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