New Employer Obligations as OFLA Winds Down Concurrent Leaves

On May 8, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) passed a temporary rule to implement changes to the unpaid Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) introduced by Senate Bill No. 1515. Effective July 1, 2024, the new law removes most, though not all, of the OFLA covered leave reasons that overlap with paid family and medical leave (PFML). The temporary rule is effective from May 8 to July 1, 2024. The changes include: 

Notice requirements. By June 1, 2024, an employer who has previously designated or approved leave previously protected by OFLA, such as leave for an employee’s own serious health condition, occurring on or after July 1, 2024 must notify the employee in writing that the leave is no longer protected by OFLA as of that date. An employer must also provide written notice to their employees on how to apply for PFML benefits with the state plan or the employer’s equivalent plan, whichever is applicable. Employers can use the model poster provided by the state or their equivalent plan administrator.  

Rescinding leave allowed. An employer may rescind a designation or approval of leave previously protected by OFLA occurring on or after July 1, 2024. If the employer rescinds leave previously protected by OFLA, they must provide a written notice on how to apply for PFML benefits at the same time as the notice of the rescission of leave. If an employer chooses not to rescind, the leave will be considered additional employer-provided leave and not counted against the employee’s OFLA entitlement. Whether or not employers rescind the leave previously protected by OFLA, they will still need to provide notices to their employees in either scenario. 

Job protection. An employer who has designated or approved leave previously protected by OFLA occurring on or after July 1, 2024 cannot retaliate or discriminate against the employee for inquiring about, submitting a request, or invoking any provision of OFLA. Employers should also note that the PFML provisions on job protection and non-retaliation apply to employees during their PFML application process. 

Subsequent rulemaking. Since this is a temporary rule, there will be subsequent rulemaking to enact permanent rules that would further clarify employer and employee responsibilities under the OFLA and sick leave programs. BOLI has already filed a notice to amend the regulations for OFLA and sick leave, with a public comment period ending on June 21, 2024. 

Additional guidance from BOLI. In a May 13 webinar jointly hosted by BOLI and Paid Leave Oregon, BOLI reminded attendees that on July 1st, there is only one leave year method allowed under OFLA, even if PFML and OFLA no longer run concurrently, and that all eligible employees must be provided with the full leave entitlement at the beginning of the new OFLA leave year. Additionally, employers should note that leave stacking is expressly allowed, considering that employees can only take OFLA and PFML leave sequentially without the two leave programs running concurrently. BOLI will be updating its website and materials later this year to reflect the changes introduced by the new law and regulations. 

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:  More Oregon PFML and Family Leave Changes in 2024


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