On July 1st of this year, Oregon became the eighth state in the country to pass legislation mandating paid family leave (PFL). Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law, requiring employers in the state to provide 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave to employees who qualify for it.
Oregon’s new law is being touted as one of the most generous in the country. Unlike other states that offer partial pay to all employees taking family or medical leave, workers in Oregon are entitled to 100% of their pay if their average weekly wage is equal to or less than 65 percent of the state average weekly wage. If an employee’s average weekly wage is greater than 65 percent of the state average weekly wage, the benefit is the sum of: 65 percent of the state average weekly wage, plus 50 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage that is above that 65 percent. This is meant to ensure that all employees receive a living wage during their time of leave.
The law also extends job protection to employees who need to take family or medical leave, requiring employers to guarantee an employee will be able to return to their same position when the leave is over. Most notably, the law extends coverage to parties who are not typically included in PFL – victims of domestic violence. Actions that are eligible for the new coverage in Oregon include:
- Caring for and bonding with a child during the first year after the child’s birth or during the first year after placement through adoption or foster care.
- Caring for a family member with a serious health condition.
- Employee’s own medical leave for a serious health condition.
- Seeking certain legal or law enforcement assistance, medical treatment or counseling, certain victim services, or relocation steps for a covered employee or employee’s minor child or dependent related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking as detailed in the existing safe leave law.
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