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Legal Updates & Alerts

Veterans Day Mandatory Holiday for Oregon Employers

October 15, 2013
With Veterans Day (November 11) looming in the horizon, Oregon employers should plan to give the day off to eligible veterans in their workforce. Earlier this year, Governor Kitzhaber signed into law Senate Bill 1 that requires companies to provide paid or unpaid time off on Veterans Day to employees who: (1) would otherwise work that day; (2) give at least 21 days' notice that they intend to take the day off; and (3) present documents that verify their veteran status. These documents must demonstrate that the employee served on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States under the following conditions:

(i) For more than 90 consecutive days beginning on or before January 31, 1955, and was discharged or released under honorable conditions;

(ii) For more than 178 consecutive days beginning after January 31, 1955, and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions;

(iii) For 178 days or less and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions because of a service-connected disability;

(iv) For 178 days or less and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions and has a disability rating from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; or

(v) For at least one day in a combat zone and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions;

In addition, an employee qualifies for the holiday if he or she received a combat, campaign ribbon, or an expeditionary medal for service in the Armed Forces and was discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions, or is receiving a nonservice-connected pension from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Employers may deny the employee's request if providing time off would cause significant economic or operational disruption or undue hardship. In these circumstances, the employer must allow the employee another day off within the year after Veterans Day. The day off must be in addition to any other time off that the employee is entitled to by law or policy. Employers must respond to the employee's request for time off at least 14 calendar days before Veterans Day, stating whether the request will be approved and whether the time off will  be paid.

If the employer cannot provide time off to all the veterans who request it, the employer must deny time off either to all veterans or to the minimum number of employees needed to avoid significant economic or operational disruption or undue hardship.

If you have questions about complying with this new law, please contact one of our Labor & Employment lawyers.