Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program Delayed by New Law
August 4, 2021
On July 27, 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law a bill delaying for one year the requirement for employers to begin making contributions to Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) program, moving the start of contributions from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2023. The new law also moves the date for employees to begin collecting PFMLI benefits from January 1, 2023, to September 1, 2023.
The PFMLI program, created in 2019, is funded by both employer and employee contributions. According to the Oregon Employment Department (OED), “The statutory timelines were aggressive for creating an entirely new program when ORS chapter 657B was enacted. The intervening COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 wildfires required the agency to redirect many resources to help get UI claims processed and benefits paid in response to those emergencies, which has impacted the pace of PFMLI program development.”
Effective January 1, 2023, employers with 25 or more employees will begin paying at least 40% of contributions and withholding up to 60% of contributions from employee wages, up to a maximum 1.0% combined contribution rate on employee wages of up to $132,900 (indexed annually for inflation). Both the contribution rate and taxable wage limit will be determined annually by the OED.
Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt from paying the employer contribution. However, if employers with fewer than 25 employees elect to pay the 40% employer portion, they may be eligible for a state grant. Self-employed individuals may opt-in to the state PFMLI program.
Starting September 1, 2023, eligible employees may receive up to 12 weeks of paid PFMLI benefits, with an additional four to six weeks of unpaid leave possible in certain cases. The benefit amount will be determined based on the employee’s average weekly wage during the base period, with the benefit amount limited to a maximum state weekly benefit amount still to be determined.
The PFMLI team is currently drafting the administrative rules. Geffen Mesher will be monitoring these proposed administrative rules and provide updates as information is available. Individuals can click here to receive updates from the OED about the PFMLI.
Additional information about Oregon’s PFMLI program is available from Oregon.gov.