Ask a Recruiter
Q: My employee requested leave under the new Paid Leave Oregon program. What do I do now?
A: Since the benefits are managed through the state, there really isn’t much to administer as an employer!
Paid Leave Oregon is an insurance program offered through the state. It’s funded through payroll deductions, which started in January 2023, and eligible employees (e.g., almost every employee who made at least $1,000 the year before applying for benefits) can apply for leave as of September 3, 2023.
Paid Leave Oregon is one of the most inclusive programs of its kind, providing most employees in Oregon with up to 12 weeks (14 for pregnancy) of paid leave per year to address various personal and family needs, such as illness, domestic violence, and recovery from certain medical conditions.
Paid Leave Oregon will let you know when your employee applies for benefits, and if their application is approved or denied. The notice will include information on the employee’s leave start and end dates, schedule (whether the leave dates are consecutive or intermittent), and the approved amount of leave (in full day increments).
You will not need to verify your employee’s information for a decision to be made on the claim. However, you can let Paid Leave Oregon know about potential issues, like if the person applying doesn’t work for you, or that they didn’t provide the appropriate notice before they took leave.
Everything else operated through the Paid Leave Oregon program will be confidential to your employee, although you can still require them to share with you the type of leave they are taking (medical, family, safe), the covered life event that is requiring the leave, and when and for how long they expect to take leave. You cannot ask any other information.
While your employee is on leave, you will not pay their regular wages, although you can write policies to cover whether your employees can use PTO, paid sick time, vacation leave, or other paid leave they have earned while waiting for or receiving Paid Leave Oregon benefits payment. You do have to continue their health care coverage, although you can require them to pay their share of premiums.
Finally, you must hold the employee’s job and role while they are on approved leave if they have worked for you for more than 90 consecutive days.
If you have specific questions or concerns about implementing the Paid Leave Oregon program in your organization, consider consulting with legal counsel or HR consultants — like our team at Boly:Welch — who are familiar with Oregon employment laws and regulations.