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For many Oregon veterans, it's another working day

SALEM — Few veterans benefited this year from a new Oregon law that encourages businesses to give them the day off on Veterans Day, says the sponsor of the legislation.

Senate President Peter Courtney says more work is needed to make businesses aware of the law, which doesn't require them to grant a day off, the Salem Statesman Journal reported.

The law approved in April allows veterans to ask private-industry employers 21 days in advance for the day off. It gives employers a variety of options, such as giving the employee the day off either paid or unpaid, offering a different day off, or rejecting the request.

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs worked hard to notify veterans of the provision, said spokeswoman Nicole Hoeft.

Courtney said the department now has to go to state and local business groups to get the word out. “We all rave about supporting veterans, but we worked with businesses to try to accommodate their needs, and it took two sessions to get this passed, and, still, few veterans are benefiting,” Courtney said.

The Statesman Journal reported the majority of the state's 300,000 veterans work for private employers, and an informal survey of local employers found few aware of the law.

Courtney said Oregon modeled its law after one passed in Iowa a few years ago.

Under the law, the veteran must provide proof of military service, and then the employer can grant the day-off request; make the day off paid or unpaid; deny the request if it would cause undue hardship on the business’ operation; offer the veteran a different day off in lieu of the Nov. 11 holiday; or deny the request completely.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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