The Oregon Employment Department announced Wednesday that Paid Leave Oregon is on track to begin next month, and people can start signing up for benefits Monday.
OED director David Gerstenfeld said that’s nearly three weeks before the program officially begins Sept. 3. He’s hoping early sign ups give people the time they need to navigate the initial process.
“One of the things that we learned from looking at other states’ programs and their initial rollouts was that we thought it would be helpful to allow some people who know that they will be applying for leave to do that a little bit early,” Gerstenfeld said in a press conference.
He said the the initial registration could take around 30 minutes to complete. An estimated 41,000 people are expected to apply for benefits as the program begins, he added.
After that, OED is estimating that about 12,000 people per month will be signing up for benefits.
Paid Leave Oregon was approved by lawmakers in 2019. It provides up to 12 weeks of paid time off for working Oregonians experiencing a qualifying issue.
Program director Karen Madden Humelbaugh explained at the Wednesday press conference that the reasons for taking leave are not limited to medical and dependent care.
“We also have safe leave for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment or stalking,” she said.
Both Humelbaugh and Gersenfeld acknowledged that because this is a new benefits program, the department will be watching closely to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. They plan to provide weekly updates as the program rolls out.
Early applicants should plan to start receiving their benefits by mid-September, as processing the payments will take about two weeks.
People who want to sign up or learn more should visit paidleave.oregon.gov.