Oregon is developing a new program, “Paid Leave Oregon,” that allows almost all working Oregonians to take paid time off for important life events that involve family, health, and safety.
This program will begin in 2023, with employers beginning payroll contributions in January. Workers will be able to apply for benefits in September of 2023.
The requirements for coverage is to have earned at least $1,000 during the year prior to claiming paid leave. Tribal governments, self-employed business owners, and independent contractors may choose to participate by notifying the paid leave program.
There are three types of leaves included in this program:
Family leave - this includes taking time away from work to care for a family member with a serious illness or injury, to bond with a new child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
Medical leave- taking time away from work to recover and heal during your own health condition.
Safe leave - for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, or stalking.
Up to 12 weeks of paid leave per benefit year (up to 14 weeks for pregnancy related medical leave). You can take leave a week or a single day at a time.
- If you have been with your employer for more than 90 days, your job remains protected and safe while you use paid leave. Your employer cannot penalize you for using paid leave.
- Benefit payments depend on your wages and/or income compared to the statewide average weekly wage; many will receive 100% wage replacement
How is it funded?
Paid Leave Oregon is funded by a trust fund that both workers and employers contribute to through payroll taxes.
By November 2022, the Employment Department will set the contribution rate, which may be up to 1% of an employee’s total wages. Once the rate is decided upon, employers with over 25 employees will contribute 40% and employees will contribute 60% of the total contribution for each individual. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to contribute. However, grants will be available for those that choose to pay their 40%.
As stated above, employers will begin paying their contribution in January 2023.
Do Employers Have Any Alternatives?
Yes. Employers can apply for approval to use their own equivalent plan to provide benefits that are equal to or greater than those provided by the state paid leave program. Employers with an approved plan (aka, a plan that is equivalent to the Paid Leave Oregon plan) still report wages through payroll reports, but they are not required to pay contributions. Information about equivalent plans are available online.
We can help employer’s to find programs that are more customized to the company's current benefit package that also complies with state requirements.
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