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Fritz delays council consideration of sick pay plan

Saying she needs more time to incorporate community feedback, Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz is delaying City Council consideration of a mandatory sick leave ordinance.

A second public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, March 7, eight days later than originally planned.

Fritz promised to release a revised version of the proposed ordinance next week.

As envisioned by Fritz and other supporters, the city would mandate that everyone working inside city limits can take at least five days off sick each year without fear of losing their job. Companies with fewer than six workers would not have to pay workers for those days off. Employers with six or more workers would have to provide at least five paid sick days a year or other paid time off, such as vacation days, that could be used for sick days.

Lobbyists for the restaurant and grocery industries, as well as some individual business owners, criticized several features of the proposed ordinance at the initial public hearing on Jan. 31. Fritz promised that many of the criticisms and suggested changes would get considered by a task force, which completed its work on Tuesday, Feb.19.

Thursday, Feb. 21, was the deadline to submit a revised final ordinance in time to hold a public hearing next week, and that turned out to be too soon, apparently.

“We are responding to helpful input from the community, and are taking the time to incorporate feedback,” Fritz said in a news release. “Council support for this important policy remains encouraging.”