All Employers with OR Employees
January 1, 2023
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Oregon published its latest round of rules on the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (FMLI). FMLI applies to any employer with at least one Oregon employee. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to contribute to the fund through payroll taxes. Employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. To be eligible for benefits, an employee needs to have earned at least $1,000 in wages, contributed to the FMLI fund, experienced a qualifying event, have current Oregon employment, applied for benefits, have not already exceeded maximum paid leave and benefit amounts, and not be eligible for workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.
The new rules announced that employees can begin applying for FMLI benefits on September 3, 2023. Applications should be submitted up to 30 calendar days before or after the start of leave. Oregon’s Employment Department (OED) will notify the employer when their employee has applied for benefits. Employees will need to submit verification to be eligible for benefits.
The rules also clarified the amount of leave an employee can take for child bonding that crosses two benefit years. For a single child, an employee is limited to 12 weeks total across two benefit years. If the employee qualifies for child bonding for more than one child, however, the combined amount of family leave may exceed 12 weeks.
The rules also clarified what constitutes care for a family member. The rules define care as either “physical or psychological assistance.” Physical assistance is attending to a family member’s basic needs, including medical, safety, and nutrition. Psychological assistance is providing comfort and reassurance to a family member and arranging for changes in their medical care, such as transfer to a nursing home.
Many employers were also confused about the rules surrounding intermittent leave. The new rules state that qualified employees can take intermittent leave in accruals that equal one workday or workweek. For leave of less than one workweek, claimants will take equal to the average number of workdays they typically work.
Finally, the rules clarified how employees must provide notice to their employers that they are taking FMLI leave. If leave is foreseeable, employers may require notice of up to 30 days. If unforeseeable, employees must give oral notice within 24 hours of leave and written notice within three days. Safe leave requires reasonable advance notice unless such notice is not feasible. Employers are required to include written notice requirements in their written policies and procedures and must provide these requirements to employees when they are hired and any time the policy changes.
If an employer already provides paid leave benefits equal or greater than required by FMLI, they do not have to pay contribution to the FMLI program. OED has released a checklist and guidebook to assist employers. Employers can submit equivalent plan applications to the state. To be exempt from 2023 contributions, employers must submit the application by November 30, 2023. All approved plans must be submitted for reapproval annually for the first three years.
- Determine participation in state or private insurance plans.
- Prepare to have leave policies updated.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on leave requirements.
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Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2022 ManagEase