EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS
Oregon Paid Family Medical Leave Update 2023
By Kris Janisch
Published Jan. 11, 2023
Employers in Oregon should ensure they are in compliance with the contribution rules that went into effect Jan. 1, 2023, for the state’s paid family medical leave law.
Employers should take note that contributions for Oregon’s paid family medical leave program began on Jan. 1, 2023.
The state last year also provided some guidance and adopted rules regarding the law, which should help employers with compliance moving forward.
At the beginning of 2023, workers began paying 0.6 percent of their gross wages, with large employers contributing 0.4 percent to fund the program. (Employers with less than 25 workers are not required to pay into the program. However, they can choose to pay into it if they wish to get access to “assistance grants” to cover costs such as overtime or a temporary replacement worker.)
Meanwhile, benefits will be available to employees beginning Sept. 3, 2023.
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Oregon Paid Family Leave Update
In the fall of 2022, Oregon adopted rules for its paid family medical leave insurance program, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
At a high level, the rules added definitions, provided clarification around contributions and the wages that are subject to contributions and benefits, and includes examples of handling overpayments and penalty amounts when employers fail to report contributions timely.
Contributions are a payroll tax and are now included in combined payroll forms. Employers deduct workers’ paid leave contributions from paychecks, report wages and pay both the employee and employer contributions through the combined payroll reporting process.
Oregon officials also outlined how contributions work for employees who may live or work in multiple states. Contributions are required for employees who primarily work in Oregon, even if employees live in another state or occasionally work in another state. However, Oregon residents who work entirely in another state do not pay contributions.
Also of note, employers are allowed to apply for an equivalent plan, which must be approved by the Oregon Employment Department.
Find more information on the state’s dedicated website.
Oregon Paid Family Leave: The Basics
As a refresher, here are the basics of Oregon’s paid family medical leave program, which does allow leave to be taken consecutively or intermittently (in at least one-day chunks).
Maximum Length of Leave
The maximum leave amount is 18 weeks per year:
- 12 weeks of paid leave total for family leave, medical leave or safe leave
- Four additional unpaid weeks, capped at 16 total paid/unpaid
- Two additional weeks of benefits will be given for complications due to pregnancy or childbirth
Like other states, Oregon’s benefits are tied to employee earnings:
- Employees who earn less than 65 percent of Oregon’s average weekly wage receive 100 percent of the average weekly wage
- Employees who earn more than 65 percent of the state average weekly wage receive 65 percent of the state average weekly wage, plus 50 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage that exceeds the state’s average weekly wage
The maximum weekly benefit amount is capped at 120 percent of the state’s average weekly wage.
Eligible Reasons for Use
When it comes to eligible reasons for use, PFML in Oregon includes time to cope with domestic or sexual violence for employees or family members, along with the standard bonding and health conditions.
Eligible Family Members
Oregon has a broad definition of family member. Close relatives are included, along with any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship.
Labor Law Poster
Lastly, there was a small verbiage update on the associated labor law poster recently, but it was considered a non-mandatory update. Still, employers must display the poster to remain compliant.
Get More Out of Your Labor Law Poster Program
Paid Leave Laws in the U.S.
In 2022, there were about 240 paid leave bills introduced across the U.S.
Obviously, not all of them became laws. But it does underscore the larger push for paid leave laws among the nation’s lawmakers.
In addition to new legislation being introduced, employers also have to keep up with guidance and updates to paid leave laws that are already in effect. At the start of 2023, there were several updates to existing laws for employers to be aware of. Read our blog, What’s New for Paid Leave Laws on Jan. 1, 2023?, for more information.
And these updates don’t happen on regular schedules. Over the course of 2022, there were 30 bills that either enacted, updated, amended or introduced new paid leave laws.
Moving forward, large employers should continue to monitor government entities where they have locations to ensure compliance and prepare for any potential changes.
Whitepaper: What Employers Need to Know About Paid Leave Laws
Employers in Oregon should ensure they are in compliance with the contribution rules that went into effect Jan. 1, 2023, for the state’s paid family and medical leave law.
As a reminder, employees can begin using benefits Sept. 3, 2023.
This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.
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