Employer Responsibilities for Paid Leave Oregon
In 2019, Oregon established paid family and medical leave benefits through Paid Leave Oregon. Under the law, most employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave for family, medical, or safe leave purposes. While on paid leave, employees will receive a benefit that is a percentage of their weekly wage. Employees may be eligible for benefits under the program starting in September 2023.
The paid leave program, which runs concurrently with Federal FMLA if taken for a FMLA qualifying reason, is funded by payroll contributions, which, for 2023, is equal to 1% of an employee’s wages up to $132,900. Employers have the option of requiring that employees pay up to 60% of the obligation via payroll deduction, or the employer can cover a greater portion of the employee’s obligation.
While employees must wait until September 2023 before paid family and medical leave benefits begin in Oregon, an employer’s responsibilities under Paid Leave Oregon begin on January 1, 2023. An employer is considered an “Oregon employer” if they employ one or more employees working anywhere in Oregon, at a job site or remotely.
- Contributions: Starting January 1, 2023, Oregon employers are responsible for collecting employee contributions and, depending on the employer’s size, contributing to the paid leave program themselves.
- Small employers (24 or less employees nationwide): Employer only withholds the Oregon employee’s share of the contributions. Employer does not need to pay the employer’s share.
- Large employers (25 or more employees nationwide): Employer withholds the employee’s share of the contribution and pays the employer’s share.
To learn more about these requirements, the state has a robust website located here.
- Notice Requirements: Starting January 1, 2023,employers must begin providing a notice explaining paid leave benefits to their employees. This notice must be provided at the time of hire, be posted in a worksite area that is accessible and regularly visited, and be delivered, physically or electronically, to remote employees. Paid Leave Oregon has created a model notice which can be used to satisfy these requirements.
- Equivalent Private Plans: Employers can opt out of coverage under the Oregon state plan if the employer offers a paid leave plan that provides the same or greater benefits to employees at the same or less cost. Equivalent plans must be submitted to and approved by the Oregon Employment Department before an employer can opt out of the state plan.
Employers with employees based in Oregon would be well served to determine what actions they need to take to comply with new requirements before their obligations begin on January 1, 2023. Employers should understand their compliance obligations, contribution requirements, contribution strategy, and employer sponsored paid leave options so they can implement a plan that best fits their organization’s needs prior to implementation.
 Eligible employee = an employee who earned $1,000 in the base year or alternative base year. Base year is the first 4 of the 5 most recent quarters. Alternative base year is the last 4 quarters.