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Family Medical Leave Act Expansion Proposed
It’s before the program even takes effect

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2005. It created the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to provide partially or fully compensated time away from work. Starting January 1, 2022, eligible employees who worked at least 90 days for an employer can apply with the state for 12 weeks of paid leave per year for qualifying family, medical, or safe leave, and up to 14 weeks for certain pregnancy-related leave.

HB 2005 applies to employers with 25 or more employees in Oregon. Employers and employees will contribute to the leave fund through payroll deductions beginning January 1, 2022. Employers will make 40% of the required contributions to the plan and employees will pay 60%. The required contribution will be no greater than 1% of the employee wages with a cap of $132,900 per year. The State of Oregon Employment Department will determine the exact percentage of contribution. The Oregon Employment Department will also manage the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance plan.

However, before the program even takes effect, Representative Karin Power (D-Milwaukie) introduced HB 2474. This bill would modify the Oregon Family Leave Act. It changes the current leave laws and lowers the employer eligibility to those with only 1 employee from the old threshold of 25 and takes employee eligibility for leave from 90 days to 30 days and covers part-time workers. Current OFLA rules apply to workers that average 25 hours a week for 180 days. OFLA is not paid time off. Rather, it is unpaid time off for up to 12 weeks with the guarantee that your job will be held by your employer. In addition HB 2474 also expands the definition of leave to include time off for caring for a child when their school or child care provider is closed by order of public official for public health emergency which is not covered under current OFLA rules. While OFLA is not paid time off, it is a guarantee that your job will be held by your employer.



It could be speculated that the proposed changes to OFLA are a test to see if the soon to roll out Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance plan could be modified to include employers with only 1 employee. After all, when HB 2005 was introduced it was proposed as: “Employer” means any person that employs one or more employees working anywhere in this state, a political subdivision of this state or any county, city, district, authority, public corporation or entity, or any instrumentality of a county, city, district, authority, public corporation or entity, organized and existing under law or charter.

HB 2474 was scheduled for a work session on March 31, but Representative Power indicated to the committee that interested parties were still working on coming to consensus on proposed amendments. The next schedule work session for the bill is April 5.

--Terese Humboldt

Post Date: 2021-04-02 09:40:36Last Update: 2021-04-01 15:50:50

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