More and more states are jumping aboard the paid family leave bandwagon. One of the newest states to get in on the trend is Oregon. Read on to learn more about the new Oregon paid family leave program and how it impacts your business.
Overview of paid family leave
Paid family leave (PFL) requires employers to let employees take paid time off for qualifying events. Many states have adopted their own paid family leave law, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Employers with 50 or more employees must also provide unpaid time off for family and medical leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). FMLA does not require employers to give paid family and medical leave.
Oregon paid family leave
Oregon paid family leave is a program that grants eligible Oregon employees up to 12 weeks of paid time off for family or medical leave or to address a domestic violence situation.
Oregon is one of the most generous paid family leave states. Employees who earn less than 65% of the state’s average weekly wage will receive 100% of their average weekly wages.
Employees can combine their paid leave with federal unpaid leave time. However, employees cannot use more than 16 weeks of leave in a year if they combine the paid and unpaid leave (18 weeks for women with pregnancy complications).
The new Oregon paid family leave is still a work in progress. Oregon will likely be adding additional information about the new program in the upcoming months. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some answers to your burning Oregon PFL questions below.
Which employees are eligible for Oregon PFL?
An employee who has earned at least $1,000 in wages in the calendar year is eligible for Oregon paid family leave. Both full-time and part-time employees can qualify for Oregon paid family leave.
Oregon employees can use PFL to:
- Bond with a child (birth, adoption, or foster care placement)
- Recover from a serious illness
- Care for a loved one recovering from a serious illness
- Deal with issues related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking
Oregon states that “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship.” This means that Oregon defines the following as family members:
- Domestic partner
- Any individual related to the employee by blood
- Any individual who’s the equivalent of a family member.
Who is exempt from Oregon PFL?
Oregon PFL is both an employee and employer program. All employers, regardless of size, must withhold the employee portion from employees’ wages. However, not all employers must contribute the employer portion.
Employers with more than 25 employees must contribute to Oregon PFL. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not obligated to pay the employer contribution.
Employers who want to provide benefits through a private plan can apply for an exemption. Private plans must offer equal or greater benefits to employees.
When do employees start receiving benefits?
Here are some important dates you should keep in mind:
- January 1, 2023: Employers must provide written notice to employees about their rights, and employee payroll contributions begin
- September 1, 2023: Eligible employees can start receiving benefits
Originally, Oregon was going to begin employee contributions on January 1, 2022, and employees could begin using benefits on January 1, 2023. But on July 27, 2021, Oregon delayed these dates until January 1, 2023 (contribution withholding) and September 1, 2023 (benefit usage).
What are the Oregon PFL contribution rates?
Both you and your employees must contribute to the program. Again, employers with less than 25 employees are not required to contribute.
The Oregon PFL contribution rate has not yet been established by the state. However, the rate will not exceed 1% of an employee’s wages.
Applicable employers must contribute 40% of the rate, while employees cover the remaining 60%. Employers can also elect to pay their employees’ contributions on their behalf.
Employers are responsible for remitting both the employee and employer contributions to the state.
Keep your eyes peeled for more information about the upcoming Oregon PFL rate.
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Oregon paid family leave: Upcoming information
Because Oregon PFL is a new program, the state will likely add and update details before the program goes into effect.
Watch out for updates to the new Oregon paid family leave program. You can contact the state for more information about the new law.
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