Oregon Lawmakers Consider Paid Family Medical Leave

By Lauren Dake (OPB)
Salem, Ore. June 11, 2019 7:40 p.m.

In the remaining weeks of the legislative session, Oregon Democratic lawmakers are hoping to pass a paid-leave bill that would allow Oregon workers 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Here's a look at how House Bill 2005 would work.


Who benefits?

Parents who want to look after a new child, whether biological, adopted, foster or stepchild. Family members who need to care for a family member, including grandparents, grandchildren or a domestic partner. And individuals who need to recover from their own health condition.

What are the benefits?

Up to 12 weeks away from work for family leave, medical leave or to address a domestic violence situation. This does not include vacation leave or other paid leave offered by an employer. Currently, most workers in Oregon are protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. It allows for 12 weeks without pay.

Employees can combine the paid leave offered by the state, if this bill passes, with federal unpaid leave time. But the time cannot exceed 16 weeks in a year or 18 weeks for women who have experienced complications due to pregnancy. Vacation time offered by employers are not included in the cap rate, and could be added to exceed 16 or 18 weeks. The rate of pay an employee receives during their leave is based on their wages.

Who is eligible?

An employee who has earned at least $1,000 in wages.


How much does the employer and employee pay into the program, under this draft?

The rate would be determined by the Employment Department and be based on an employee’s wages. Employees and employers would both contribute. Employees would cover 60%, with employers contributing 40%. The rate would not exceed 1% of an employee’s wages. The program would operate similar to unemployment insurance.

Who is exempt?

Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the employer contributions. Or if a private employer offers a plan of equal or greater benefit.

If this bill passes, when would people start receiving these benefits?

Jan. 1, 2023

Is this model based on any other states?

Washington recently passed a similar policy. Business groups advocated for the idea of creating consistent policies between the two states.

What’s next?

The bill is still in committee. It is considered a payroll tax, so if it reaches the House and Senate floor it would require approval by three-fifths of both legislative chambers.

Editor's note: This article was changed to clarify that vacation time offered by employers could be tacked on to any federal or state leave to extend a leave beyond 16 or 18 weeks in a year.