More Oregon PFML and Family Leave Changes in 2024

More changes are coming to Oregon’s unpaid Family Leave Act (OFLA) and paid family and medical leave (PFML), with the passage of Oregon’s Senate Bill No. 1514 and Senate Bill No. 1515. Oregon’s predictive work scheduling law is also impacted in relation to the OFLA and PFML changes. Most of the changes are effective on July 1. Here’s what you need to know: 

Oregon Family Leave Act

Despite recent legislation intended to provide clarity on this topic, employers have continued to struggle with how PFML coordinates with OFLA. The new law now removes most of the OFLA covered leave reasons that overlap with PFML: bonding, care for a family member with a serious health condition, and the employee’s own serious health condition. That means an employee may take OFLA leave for: 

  • bereavement (now limited to 4 weeks) 
  • care for a sick child (with a serious or non-serious health condition) 
  • the legal process related to foster or adoption placement  
  • pregnancy disability.  

However, despite the overlaps that still subsist for some remaining leave reasons, the new law also expressly states that leave taken under OFLA will not run concurrently with any leave taken under PFML. These changes are effective on July 1 and most are permanent amendments with one exception: the provision to provide two weeks of OFLA leave for the legal process for the placement of a foster child or the adoption of a child is temporary and will expire on January 1, 2025.  

Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave

Another challenge in benefit coordination required employers to consider a 16-week entitlement that capped the combination of paid and unpaid leave that an employee in Oregon could take, which was included in the initial PFML law in 2019. The new law now removes the 16-week cap. 

Additionally, the new law allows an employee to use any accrued paid sick leave, accrued paid vacation leave or any other paid leave that is offered by the employer in addition to PFML, as long as the total combined amount of accrued paid leave and PFML benefits received by the employee does not exceed an amount equal to the employee’s full wage replacement during the PFML absence. 

Most of these changes are effective on July 1 with one exception. The PFML program will pick up where OFLA leaves off in including the legal process for the placement of a foster child or the adoption of a child under the covered family leave reasons for which an employee may take paid leave. This provision will be effective on January 1, 2025. 

Predictive Work Scheduling Law

Generally, under Oregon’s predictive work scheduling law, certain employers are required to pay their employees additional compensation if they change their employees’ schedules without advance notice.  However, the new law specifies that this requirement does not apply when the employer makes a change to the schedule of an employee who was temporarily assigned to specific shifts to cover for an employee on leave under PFML or OFLA when the employer was provided with less than 14 days’ notice of the need for leave under PFML or OFLA, or of the return from the use of leave under PFML or OFLA. 

Subsequent rulemaking and legislative developments

Employers should be on the lookout for subsequent rulemaking and additional guidance that would further clarify employer and employee responsibilities under these leave programs. Legislators also directed the Employment Department (OED) and the Bureau of Labor and Industries to review the current roles and responsibilities of their respective agencies regarding the administration, rulemaking, education, and enforcement of Oregon’s leave programs. These two agencies will be submitting its final report in September, which could contain recommendations for statutory changes to Oregon’s leave programs.  

Monitoring PFML fund solvency

Legislators also directed the OED to periodically review the PFML program to determine the solvency of the PFML Insurance Fund. If the OED determines that the fund is or may be insolvent, they are empowered to adjust PFML wage replacement benefits or leave entitlements to maintain or restore the solvency of the fund. The OED must provide 30 days’ advance notice of any impending changes, which would apply prospectively.  The OED has assured legislators that the fund will be sufficiently solvent in the immediate future based on their current actuarial analysis.  

As Oregon continues to review and further refine its job-protected leave programs, employers and employees alike should continue to keep a close eye on the Oregon legislature and implementing agencies to see what changes will be on the horizon. 

FINEOS can help keep your state leave programs up to date

FINEOS will be ready to administer these amended state leave programs. Using modern insurance technology solutions like the FINEOS Platform can help insurance carriers and employers remain compliant and competitive when leave legislation is revised and new products are authorized by governing jurisdictions. Learn more about how a modern, integrated disability and absence management (IDAM) solution can help your organization adapt to this rapidly evolving market and remain in compliance. 

Read about other 2024 Oregon updates here: New Employer Obligations as Oregon Family Leave Act Winds Down Concurrent Leaves

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