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What Employers Need to Know About Paid Leave Oregon

Oregon is preparing to roll out its much-anticipated paid family and medical leave program called Paid Leave Oregon. The program, which was delayed for a year partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will require employee and employer contributions to start on January 1, 2023. Employees can apply for benefits beginning on September 3, 2023.

Paid Leave Oregon will allow employees to take paid time off for their own or a family member’s serious health condition, bonding with a new child, and issues related to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or harassment. Employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave for any qualifying reasons unless it is pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical circumstance—for those reasons, an employee can take up to 14 weeks of leave. Employees may take an additional four weeks of unpaid leave for a condition covered by the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA).

Employees can take the time continuously or intermittently, but the leave increment cannot be smaller than a full workday. Employees have job restoration protections once they have worked for their employer for 90 days. Employers must also provide continuation of health care benefits while the employee is on leave under this program.

Paid Leave Oregon applies to employers that employ one or more employees working anywhere in Oregon State except for the federal government and tribal governments. Employees who earned $1,000 or more in the base year (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters) or the alternate base year (the last four completed calendar quarters) before claiming their benefit are eligible to apply for benefits. Further, the employee must perform their work primarily in Oregon State. The term “employee,” as defined under the law, excludes independent contractors, certain work-study program participants, participants in a work training program administered under a state or federal assistance program, railroad workers exempted under the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, and volunteers.

The 2023 contribution rate is 1% of employee wages, up to $132,900. Employees will pay 60% of the required contribution, and employers will pay 40% of the contribution. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are not required to pay the 40% employer contribution; however, they must still withhold and remit the employee portion of the contribution to the Oregon Employment Department with their payroll reports.

Employers may elect to offer an equivalent plan with equal or better benefits and leave durations than provided through the state’s program. Employers that wish to elect an equivalent plan must apply to the Oregon Employment Department.

Eligible Archbright members are encouraged to contact the HR Hotline with any questions concerning Paid Leave Oregon.

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Picture of Colleen Mayer

Colleen Mayer

Colleen Mayer is a Staff Attorney for Archbright. She provides legal advice and counsel to members on all aspects of local, state and federal employment and labor law.  Colleen has been representing employers in employment litigation and administrative proceedings and providing advice since 2011.  Prior to joining Archbright, she was an attorney at a Seattle law firm, where she represented employers in state and federal litigation and administrative proceedings, provided counsel on discrimination, harassment, wage and hour, employee leaves, employment and separation agreements, employee handbooks, and policies. She is also an experienced speaker who has presented on several employment topics at seminars, including some run by the National Business Institute. Colleen earned her B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia. She is licensed to practice in Washington and Connecticut.