Oregonian workers who need time off to care for family members or themselves can begin to apply for paid leave benefits starting on August 14, 2023, for leave to be taken on or after September 3. According to Oregon Live, “payments will begin going out in mid-September.”
The road to Oregonians’ access to paid leave benefits began more than four years ago. Former Gov. Kate Brown signed the long-awaited policy into law on August 9, 2019. Since then, state officials have struggled to finalize the “nation’s most far-reaching paid leave programs.”
In Oregon, companies with 25 or more would be eligible for paid leave benefits of up to 12 weeks annually. According to The White House website, the Build Better Act, or the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, provides working Americans up to four weeks or 20 working days yearly.
Initially, the former governor and state legislators pushed back the launch date to January 2023, but the Oregon Employment Department (EOD) did not meet that deadline.
Finally, eight months later, employees working at eligible companies can apply for leave and receive paid leave benefits.
According to an EOD-commissioned analysis, the delay might have “cost Oregon workers approximately $453 million during the time the [benefits were not available].”
Eligibility for Paid Leave Benefits
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, Oregon joins 16 states and the District of Columbia that have enacted paid family leave benefits. Four additional states enacted laws not yet in effect.
The program covers parental leave when a child is born or adopted. Paid benefits also help in the event of an employee’s serious illness or injury.
Leave benefits will also be paid to employees taking care of a family member who is seriously ill. Also, paid leave is available for “survivors or the parents of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment.”
Paid Leave Oregon Director Karen Madden Humelbaugh said, “We’re excited to give working people the financial support they need to care for themselves and their families. Employees can take the time they need without worrying about losing their lobs, and employers retain their skilled and experience workers.”
NOTE: Applications can be made using the EOD’s new online system.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Oregonian: Oregonians can begin accessing paid leave benefits Sept. 3; By Jamie Goldberg
KCBY11 CBS: Oregon’s paid leave program taking applications starting next month; By Zack Larsen
Bipartisan Policy Center: State Paid Family Leave Laws Across the U.S.
The Oregonian: Paid leave for Oregon workers, hyped years ago as a progressive win, is far behind schedule due to lack of urgency, oversight, nimble technology moves; By Jamie Goldberg and Hillary Borrud (07/12/2022)
OregonLive: Oregon wants to delay rollout of paid family and medical leave program; By Jamie Goldberg (05/06/2021)