September 17, 2014
Oregon’s Veterans Day Off law is still new to many employers. With Veterans Day 2014 fast approaching, The Bullard Edge is providing employers with a compliance primer.
Is the Veterans Day Off law effective now?
Yes. The law went into effect immediately after being signed by Governor Kitzhaber in April 2013. It was in effect for Veterans Day 2013 and it continues to be in effect for Veterans Day 2014 (Tuesday, November 11, 2014).
Where can the Veterans Day Off law be found?
What does the Veterans Day Off law require?
In a nutshell, veterans generally are entitled to an unpaid day off of work on Veterans Day.
The law requires that an employer allow an employee who is a veteran to take one day of leave on Veteran’s Day, provided that the employee:  “would otherwise be required to work on that day” and  requests the day off at least 21 days in advance. Within 14 days after receiving a timely request, the employer must let the employee know that s/he will be allowed to take Veterans Day off or, if taking leave on that day would be an undue hardship for the employer, that s/he will be allowed to take a different day off of work.
Is the Veterans Day Off paid or unpaid?
The law does not require that the day off be paid. When the employer responds to a request for leave on Veterans Day, the employer must let the employee know two things:  whether s/he will be given Veterans Day off (or another day) and  whether the day off will be paid. In other words, the employer has the option of granting paid or unpaid leave. The drafters of the law clearly wanted to encourage that the day be paid, but decided not to mandate it.
How does the economic or undue hardship exception work?
The law states that an employer is not required to grant leave on Veterans Day if it would create a “significant economic or operational disruption or undue hardship.” There is no guidance on the disruption/hardship exception. It is simply up to an employer to analyze its business and make this determination.
Where an employer denies request from a veteran/employee for leave on Veterans Day based on a disruption or hardship determination, the employer must allow the veteran/employee to choose another day to take off during the year following Veterans Day (and before the next Veterans Day).
If an employer receives timely leave requests from more than one veteran/employee, and if the employer determines that it cannot grant leave to all of the veterans who have requested it, then the employer may choose to either:
Deny all of the requests for leave on Veterans Day and make arrangements with the employees for alternate days off; or
Deny leave only to the minimum number of veterans necessary to avoid disruption or hardship and make arrangements with the other requesting employees for alternate days off.
Which Veterans May Take Advantage of the Veterans Day Off law?
The following types of veterans may take advantage of the Veterans Day Off law:
A veteran who has served on active duty for at least six months and received an honorable discharge;
A veteran who served on active duty and received a disability rating; and
A veteran who served on active duty in a combat zone.
The Bullard Edge salutes all veterans for their service.