In 2019, Governor Kate Brown signed a bill creating the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (PFMLI) Program to be administered by the Oregon Employment Department.  Employees and employers will start contributing to the insurance fund on January 1, 2023, with benefits beginning in September 2023. 

Leave Provisions

The PFMLI Program provides employees with compensated time off from work for the following reasons:

  • Care for and bond with a child during the first year of the child’s birth or arrival through adoption or foster care (family leave)
  • Care for a family member who has a serious health condition (family leave)
  • Recover from an employee’s serious health condition (medical leave)
  • Leave related to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or harassment (safe leave)

Covered individuals may qualify for up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave insurance benefits per benefit year for family, medical or safe leave.

Eligible Employee

An Eligible Employee is one who has earned at least $1,000 in wages during the base year or alternate base year.

Federal employees will not pay into the fund, nor can they receive benefits from the fund.  However, self-employed people or those who work for tribal governments can opt into the program.

Benefit Amount

If the eligible employee’s average weekly wage is equal to or less than 65 percent of the Oregon state average weekly wage (SAWW), the employee’s weekly benefit amount shall be 100 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage.

Suppose the eligible employee’s average weekly wage is greater than 65 percent of the Oregon SAWW. In that case, the employee’s weekly benefit amount is the sum of 65 percent of the average weekly wage plus 50 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage that is greater than 65 percent of the average weekly wage.

Effective July 1, 2022, the Oregon average weekly wage is $1325.34. 

For example, a person making $15/hour working 40 hours per week has an average weekly wage of $600.  Because that is less than 65% of the SAWW (1325.34 x 65% = 861.47), the employee is eligible for 100% of their average weekly wage of $600.

A person making $25/hour working 40 hours per week has an average weekly wage of $1000.  This amount is greater than 65% of the SAWW ($861.47).  The calculation for benefits in this example is 65% of their weekly pay ($1000 x 65% = $650) plus 50% of the amount greater than 65% of their weekly pay ($1000 – $650 = $350, $350 x 50% = $175) for a total of $825.

These benefits are in addition to any paid sick time, vacation leave, or any additional accrued leave.

An employer may permit an employee to use paid sick time, vacation leave, or any other paid leave earned by the employee in addition to receiving paid family and medical leave insurance benefits to replace an employee’s wages up to 100 percent of the eligible employee’s average weekly wage.

Amount to pay into PFMLI

Starting January 1, 2023, workers pay .6% every paycheck, and employers pay .4% for a total of 1% into PFMLI.  However, the total rate may not exceed one percent of employee wages, up to a maximum of $132,900 in wages.

Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the employer contributions.  However, if an employer with fewer than 25 employees elects to pay the employer contributions, the employer may apply to receive an Employer Assistance Grant.

How to apply for PFMLI

Application of leave is through the Oregon Employment Division.  They will finalize this process by September 1, 2022.

An employer may require an eligible employee to give the employer written notice at least 30 days before commencing a period of family leave, medical leave, or safe leave, which includes explaining the need for the leave.

An eligible employee may commence leave without 30 days’ advance notice if the leave is not foreseeable for the following reasons:

  1. An unexpected serious health condition of the employee or a family member of the employee
  2. A premature birth, unexpected adoption, or unexpected foster placement by or with the employee
  3. Safe leave

Job Protection

After returning to work from qualified leave, an employee is entitled to be restored to the position of employment held by the employee when the leave commenced, if that position still exists, without regard to whether the employer filled the position with a replacement worker during the leave.  However, suppose the position held by the employee at the time leave commenced no longer exists.  In that case, the employee is entitled to be restored to any available equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.

How can we help?

It may not be easy to calculate the Average Weekly Wage with workers who are not on a set schedule.  In addition, determining the amount of leave to bring employees to 100% of their Average Weekly Wage has its challenges.

For more information about how we can help, contact Time Equipment Company at sales@timeequipment.com or 800-997-8463.