Oregon Law Alert: Paid Family, Medical, or Safe Leave

On August 9, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 2005) enacting the state’s new paid family and medical leave law and creating the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program, funded via payroll contributions. Under the new law, employers with one or more employees working anywhere in Oregon must provide 12 weeks of paid leave, total paid and unpaid capped at 16 weeks (or up to 18 weeks for women with pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications) for the following purposes:

  • To care for and bond with a child during the first year after the child’s birth or arrival through adoption or foster care;

  • To provide care for a family member who has a serious health condition; or

  • To recover from an employee’s own serious health condition.

Under the law, employees may also take safe leave for purposes related to domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking (as defined in Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.272). The law provides specific terms for employee qualification, exemptions from coverage, funding, employer- and employee-required notices, retaliation provisions, enforcement, and more.

The law is effective September 30, 2019 with the following administrative and operative dates:

  • By September 1, 2021, the Oregon Employment Department will issue implementing rules.

  • On January 1, 2022, eligible employees and employers begin making contributions to the program and employers must provide written notice to employees of their rights under the law.

  • On January 1, 2023, eligible employees may begin to receive benefit payments.

  • On January 1, 2025, employees may sue employers for violating the law.

Read OR H.B. 2005

Pay Equity

On July 23, 2019, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (S.B. 123) amending the state’s wage payment law to provide that an employer is not in violation of pay equity requirements for paying a different level of compensation to an employee for modified work in certain circumstances and per the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. Specifically, it is not a violation for an employer to pay a different level of compensation to an employee who:

  • Pursuant to a claim for a compensable injury, receives wages for modified work; or

  • As a result of a medical condition, is temporarily performing modified work that is:

    • Authorized by a licensed medical professional; or

    • Requested by the employee and authorized by the employer in a manner that does not discriminate against employees on the basis of a protected class.

The law is effective January 1, 2020.

Read OR S.B. 123

Mayar Mahmoud