Skip to content
Alight named by Fortune as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in 2024

Changes to Paid Leave Oregon rules

Effective January 12, 2024, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) has made changes to Paid Leave Oregon that will affect how employers manage paid leaves for their employees. The changes affect appeals, assistance grants, benefits, confidentiality, equivalent plans, and self-employment.

The changes impact employers who use the state plan as well as those with an approved private plan, also referred to as an "equivalent plan." Below are summaries of the most notable changes. but this is not an exhaustive list. At the end of this post, you’ll find a link to the OED’s page to access all of the details.

Because there are so many changes included in this update to Paid Leave Oregon, we’ve summarized the impact with asterisks: 

*Changes / updates impacting claims process, training, or general management for Alight Leave Solutions.
**Employer awareness is critical.

Covered Leave Reasons *

  • New Reason: “Bias crime” was added for the purpose of safe leave. 
  • New Definition: “Bias crime” defined as an incident of hostile expression relating to a person’s perceived race, color, religion, gender, identity, sexual orientation, disability, or natural origin. 
  • Clarifying Definition: The “first year” after the child’s birth, foster placement, or adoption for use with family leave determinations is the day of the birth or placement until the day before the one-year anniversary.

Covered Relationships *

  • New Definition: “Affinity” is defined as a significant personal bond that, when examined under the totality of the circumstances, is like a family relationship and may be demonstrated. See page 6 of the link for examples.
  • New Definition: “Claimant Designated Representative” as an individual who is authorized by the claimant to represent the claimant by exchanging information with the Paid Leave Oregon program on behalf of the claimant.

Documentation / Certification *

  • Clarifying Definition: Clarifies that a “Health Care Provider” is someone other than the claimant or the person for whom the claimant is providing care. Page 7 of the link provides a thorough listing of areas of specialty.
  • New Requirement: The implementation of changes from 2023 HB 3443, providing verification needed for Safe Leave purposes by adding “Bias Crimes.” Acceptable examples are provided, such as a copy of a police report or protective order, as well as a personal attestation if there is demonstrated cause for not providing other forms of documentation. Page 10 provides additional information. 

Job Protection / Restoration **

  • Clarifying Requirement: The implementation of changes from 2023 SB 999, outlining if the position held by an employee at the start of their PFMLI leave has been eliminated (and not merely renamed or reclassified) then the employer must restore the employee to any available, equivalent position for which the employee is qualified within a 50-mile radius of their former job site.
  • New Administrative Rule: An employer may deduct from future paychecks the employee’s cost of health or other insurance premiums paid by the employer while the employee is on Paid Leave. Page 11 provides additional directions in the event the employee does not return and other useful scenarios.

Appeals Administration **

  • New Dispute Option: Implements changes from 2023 SB 913, providing the added option for equivalent plan employers or employees to request an administrative hearing when either party is not satisfied with the resolution proposed by Paid Leave Oregon.

Employer Reporting Requirements for Equivalent Plans (Private Plans) **

  • New Administrative Rule – Reporting Periods: When an employer files for and is approved for an equivalent plan, the reporting period is clarified. The first reporting period is the timeframe beginning the start date of the equivalent plan and ending on the earlier of either December 31 of the year the equivalent plan began or the last effective date of the terminated or withdrawn equivalent plan. See Page 18(7) for detailed directions.
  • New Administrative Rule – Reporting Due Dates: Equivalent plan reporting is due on or before the last day of the month that follows the close of the calendar year. Page 19(2). 

You can visit the department’s website to read the details of these changes:

What will this change within Alight Leave Solutions? 

Alight Leave Solutions specializes in state and federal leave of absence solutions, including certain paid and unpaid family/medical leave offerings. Paid Leave Oregon is a part of Alight Leave Solutions’ Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) administration. Alight will incorporate the changes impacting administration, including, but not limited to, the new or clarifying definitions and the recognition of modified verification documents collected during the process of claim administration. 

What employers should consider

Many of the changes directly impact employer operations, including employee job restoration upon return from leave and ensuring compliance with available leave reasons, relationships, designated representatives, and documentation. Particularly, employers with equivalent plans or private plans should be familiar with equivalent plan appeal processes and reporting requirements, update policies with the new or clarifying definitions, and train employees who administer these leave programs in-house. 

Related Insights

Alight On podcast discusses leaves of absence: What your employees don’t know is costing you

Our latest podcast discusses why leaves matter, the reasons they’re difficult to get right and what employers need to consider.

Two policy changes by Ontario WSIB, to traumatic and chronic policy application in adjudication of claims, and to appeals

Alight’s case managers will guide our clients through Ontario WSIB changes and ensure quality evidence is attained and provided in all claims that should be challenged.

Provincial and territorial leaves across Canada

Alight has created a quick reference infographic to help you easily identify which leaves are available in each province and territory.