Effective January 1, 2024, employees can use leave for victims of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, and stalking (victim leave) for an additional purpose. Victim leave, which employers with at least six employees are required to provide, will be available to employees who are victims of bias. A victim of bias is a person who has been a victim of a bias crime, which is when a perpetrator:
- Intentionally knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person because of the perpetrator’s perception of the person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin;
- With criminal negligence, causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon because of the perpetrator’s perception of the person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin;
- Intentionally, because of the perpetrator’s perception of another person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, places another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury;
- Interferes with property with the intent to cause substantial inconvenience to a person because of the perpetrator’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin; or
- Intentionally subjects another person to offensive physical contact because of the person’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.
Victim leave may be unpaid, though an employee may use any paid accrued vacation leave, sick leave, or other paid leave that is offered by the employer. The amendment to the victim leave provisions also adds an additional form of certification that an employer may require.
Effective January 1, 2024, employers are prohibited from barring the employment of, discharging, or discriminating against an employee or applicant because they—in good faith and with no reasonable alternative—refuse to be exposed to serious injury or death stemming from a hazardous workplace condition.
Effective January 1, 2024, employers—with employees or independent contractors working in the state—must file a report to the Oregon Division of Child Support:
- The hiring or rehiring of employees; or
- The engagement or re-engagement of independent contractors; and
- When they reside or work in Oregon and the employer will be paying them for their work.
Under this amended law, an independent contractor is someone who must file a federal form W-9 and will be performing services for more than 20 days. Until this law takes effect, employers are not required to report independent contractors working for them—only employees.
The report must be submitted within 20 days after the independent contractor was initially engaged to work for the employer or re-engaged, which means they previously performed work for the employer but haven’t in the past 60 days.
Effective September 24, 2023, it became unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against any employee due to their service or scheduled service as an appointed member of a state board or commission.
Additionally, an employer cannot require an employee to use vacation leave, sick leave, or annual leave for state board or commission service leave. The employer must allow the employee to take leave without pay.
To be afforded these protections, an employee must give the employer at least 21 days’ advance notice of any time the employee needs to spend in service as an appointed member of a state board or commission.
Oregon updated several aspects of the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) to align with its new paid family and medical leave law, Paid Leave Oregon (PLO), job-protected paid leave through Paid Leave Oregon.
What is PLO
PLO is a state insurance program that provides monetary benefits to nearly all employees for certain family, medical, and safe leave purposes. Additionally, PLO requires employers of all sizes to provide job protection and group health benefits continuation while employees are out on covered leave.
PLO is funded through payroll contributions and administered by the Oregon Employment Department (OED). Employers do not make these payments to employees.
PLO Employee Eligibility
The state will determine an employee’s eligibility when they apply. To be eligible for Paid Leave benefits, an employee must have earned $1,000 in the previous year. To be entitled to job protection and continuation of health care coverage, the employee must have worked for their current employer for at least 90 days before taking leave.
The OED will notify employers about the following:
- When an employee applies for leave
- Whether leave has been approved or denied
- Leave start and end dates
- Leave amounts
- Leave schedule (consecutive or intermittent)
All other information about an employee’s claim is confidential.
Amount of Leave and Use under the PLO
Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of Paid Leave per year for any combination of family, medical, or safe leave. Employees can take an additional two weeks for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions.
If the employee’s Paid Leave also qualifies for OFLA or FMLA, then the leaves will run concurrently.
The PLO and OFLA changes should assist employers in managing the overlap between these two benefits. PLO benefits became available on September 3, 2023, which is also when the new definition of “family member” under OFLA took effect. Because Oregon Sick Time uses the same definition of family member as OFLA, the Sick Time law is effectively amended as well.
Definition of Family Member
The definition of family member under OFLA—and Oregon’s Sick Time law—now match the PLO definition. The new definition expanded the relationships that qualify as family.
Family member now include an employee’s:
- Domestic partner
- Sibling (which includes stepsiblings)
- Spouse or domestic partner of their child, parent, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild
- Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship (e.g., a boyfriend or girlfriend, honorary aunts and uncles, best friends, or roommates)
Leaves Run Concurrently
OFLA must run concurrently with PLO—not in addition to it—when the leave reason qualifies under both laws.
Mandatory Forward-Looking OFLA Benefit Year in 2024
Beginning on July 1, 2024, employers will be required to use a forward-looking benefit year for purposes of calculating an employee’s OFLA leave entitlement—the same method that’s used to calculate an employee’s eligibility for PLO. This method tracks the employee’s 52-week benefit year beginning the Sunday before their first use of leave.