Updates Align Oregon Family Leave Act with Paid Leave Oregon

Oregon State capitol where the Oregon Paid Leave Act was passed.

In the last legislative session, Oregon made significant changes to the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) to better align it with the new Paid Leave Oregon (PLO) program, which was implemented last September. This post summarizes the key changes which become effective on July 1, 2024.

Duplicative leave eliminated

The 2024 amendments to the OFLA eliminated duplicative leave available under the PLO program for a serious health condition (for an employee or family member), and the birth/adoption of a child. The OFLA now provides protected but unpaid leave for only the following circumstances: sick child, bereavement, pregnancy disability, and military family leave.

Resetting the leave year

Under the OFLA, employers with 25 or more employees generally must provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of protected time off per year for covered events. Historically, the OFLA allowed a variety of different 12-month periods to establish the OFLA leave year.

Under the 2024 amendments, an OFLA leave year must be a period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the date on which family leave commences. In other words, the benefit year will only measure forward. This update aligns with the PLO program, and reduces confusion between the two laws. The amendment also clarifies that where the leave qualifies as protected under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and PLO, the leaves must be taken concurrently, and cannot be stacked.

Any employer who is subject to both the OFLA (25+ employees within Oregon) and the FMLA (50+ employees within 75-miles of any worksite) will need to provide 60 days’ notice before changing the leave year – which means such notices must go out to employees by May 1, 2024 to meet the July 1, 2024 deadline. FMLA-covered employers should change their FMLA leave year to align with the OFLA and PLO.

Expansion of who is a “family member”

Other updates to the OFLA include an expanded definition of “family member” to include domestic partner (regardless of gender), siblings, step-siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, as well as extending to family members by affinity status, as defined under PLO, creating further alignment between the two laws.

Next Steps

In light of these changes, Oregon employers should review their leave policies and practices to ensure compliance with the law, and prepare to inform employees about the upcoming change to the leave year.

For assistance with compliance, or any other employment law related matter, contact a member of Dunn Carney’s Employment Law Team.

 

Allyson S. Krueger, Partner
Phone: 503-417-5461
Email: akrueger@dunncarney.com

Lauren J. Russell, Partner
Phone: 503-306-5346
Email: lrussell@dunncarney.com

Samantha Baker, Law Clerk
Phone: 503-306-5335
Email: sbaker@dunncarney.com

©2024 Dunn Carney LLP.  This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Dunn Carney LLP and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.