Law gives veterans a day off

I'm a veteran and I just heard from a friend that the Oregon Legislature has passed a new law that requires businesses in the state to give veterans the day off on Veterans Day. Is that true and if so, how does it get enforced?

— Paul, Jacksonville

Well, Paul, suck in your gut, slip into that old uniform and direct a salute toward Salem, where the Legislature did just as your friend informed you.

Senate Bill 1, whose sponsors included Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, and Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, was introduced on the first day of the legislative session and by April 4 had been signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

But don't get your hopes too high, Paul. The law says your boss has to let you and any other veteran in your place of business have the day off, but it doesn't say the tightwad has to pay you for it. It also allows businesses to avoid the requirement if they can show that it would create a hardship or disruption to the business.

A summary of the measure written by legislative staff gave this overview of the reasons for the measure:

"Veterans Day is set aside to honor all service members. Publicly employed veterans enjoy the holiday, while many privately employed veterans may not. Senate Bill 1 enables all employed veterans, if possible without undue difficulty for employers, to enjoy the one holiday that is especially theirs."

So, Paul, start making your plans now for Nov. 11. But better make sure those plans are not too expensive.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.


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