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State’s Leave Laws Set to Align

Effective July 1, 2024, under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), employers must use a period of 52 consecutive weeks—beginning on the Sunday immediately before leave starts—to determine the amount of the family leave an eligible employee is entitled to take within one year. This can also be referred to as a rolling forward approach and by allowing only rolling forward, the OFLA aligns with the state’s Paid Leave Act (PLA) with benefits becoming available September 3, 2023. Previously, the OFLA allowed employers to use either the rolling forward or looking back (consecutive 12-month period under specific requirements).

 

Effective September 3, 2023, the OFLA is amended to include, but not limited to, the following:

 

  • The definition of a family member expands to:
    • The spouse of a covered individual;
    • A child of a covered individual or the child’s spouse or domestic partner;
    • A parent of a covered individual or the parent’s spouse or domestic partner;
    • A sibling or stepsibling of a covered individual or the sibling’s or stepsibling’s spouse or domestic partner;
    • A grandparent of a covered individual or the grandparent’s spouse or domestic partner;
    • A grandchild of a covered individual or the grandchild’s spouse or domestic partner;
    • The domestic partner of a covered individual; or
    • Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • If their former position is unavailable upon return, employees must be offered a job equivalent to their pre-leave job that’s within 50 miles (an increase from 20 miles) of their original jobsite, if available. If jobs are available at multiple job sites, then the returning employee must be offered the role closest to their original workplace.

 

Additionally, concurrency of leave periods is regulated (e.g., family leave must be taken concurrently with and not in addition to federal FMLA). Also, effective September 3, 2023, Paid Leave Oregon (paid family leave) implements the same affinity relation analysis and reemployment rights as detailed above for OFLA, along with the following:

  • Employees must continue to make any regular contributions to their health insurance premium costs during their leave and, as previously required, employers must maintain the benefit.
  • An employer can deduct disability, life, or other insurance payments it elected to make from the employee’s pay when they return to work but it can’t exceed 10% of their gross pay each pay period.

 

Read more about each on the state’s OFLA and the Paid Leave Oregon websites.

 

Paid Leave Oregon Compliance Reminder

Paid Leave Oregon went into effect on January 1, 2023, and employees may begin applying for benefits on September 3, 2023. Paid Leave Oregon provides an employee with compensated time off from work to care for and bond with a child following the child’s birth or adoption, to recover from a serious health condition or care for a family member’s serious health condition, or to take leave if the employee or the employee’s family member has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or harassment.

 

Paid Leave Oregon applies to employers with at least one employee in the state of Oregon. Large employers (i.e., those that employ twenty-five or more employees worldwide) must contribute to the Paid Leave Oregon fund. Small employers (those who employ fewer than twenty-five employees worldwide) may opt out of paying employer contributions. However, employers of all sizes with at least one employee in Oregon must withhold Oregon employees’ Paid Leave Oregon contributions from their paychecks, and such employees have job protection rights under Paid Leave Oregon, regardless of the size of the employer.

 

Action Items

  • Adopt a policy informing employees on how to apply for benefits under the state’s Paid Leave Oregon Law.
  • Ensure that the required poster is posted in the workplace.

 

Leave for Service on State Boards and Commissions Enacted

Effective September 24, 2023, it is 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.

HR Services Team
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