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Oregon Becomes 8th State To Mandate Paid Family And Medical Leave

Published by and on August 20, 2019

Effective January 1, 2023, Oregon employers must provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

On June 30, 2019, Oregon Legislative Assembly passed House Bill 2005 (“HB 2005”), which provides eligible employees with twelve (12) weeks of paid medical and family leave. Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that she intends to sign the bill. HB 2005 will take effect January 1, 2023.

Covered Employers: Employers who employ one or more employees in Oregon are required to provide paid family and medical leave under HB 2005. Covered employers must provide written notice of rights under the law to employees by January 1, 2022.

Eligible Employees: Under HB 2005, an employee is eligible for paid leave if he or she has earned at least $1000 in wages in the last base year. Eligible employees may begin to receive benefits payments under the Oregon Family and Medical Leave Insurance (“FAMLI”) Program, created by HB 2005, starting January 1, 2023.

Contributions: Funding for the FAMLI Program will be provided through a payroll tax to be determined by the Director of the Employment Department. Under the Program, employers will contribute 40% of the total rate set by the Director, while employee payroll deductions will cover the remaining 60%. Special exemptions apply for employers with fewer than 25 employees. Employee payroll contributions under the FAMLI Program will begin January 1, 2022.

Covered Leave: Under the law, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for their own illness or sick family member, for baby bonding, or to deal with issues related to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment. Employees who take leave under the FAMLI Program are provided job protection.

Leave Benefits: HB 2005 requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave benefits for eligible employees. Additionally, employers are required to provide another 4 weeks of unpaid leave, totaling 16 weeks of leave. Benefits under the FAMLI Program are based on the state average weekly wage. Employees who earn less than 65% of the state average weekly wage will receive 100% of their average weekly wage. Employees who earn more than 65% of the state average weekly wage will receive 65% of the state average weekly wage plus 50% of the amount of that the employee’s wage exceeds the state average weekly wage (capped at 120% of the state average weekly wage).

Employees may use vacation time or sick time to supplement the weekly benefit amount, up 100% of their wages.

Welter Insight

Oregon employers should take notice of their obligations under HB 2005. While eligible employees may not begin collecting benefits under the law until January 1, 2023, employers must provide notice of employee rights by January 1, 2022. Oregon employers concerned about compliance under HB 2005 and the FAMLI Program should seek counsel well in advance of January 1, 2022, when they are required to provide notice to employees of their rights under the new law.

Oregon employers are not the only employers on the hook for paid family and medical leave. Employers in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington State and the District of Columbia must also provide eligible employees with paid family or medical leave. Employers concerned whether or not they are subject to and in compliance with any of these state laws should seek counsel.

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