As of today, there has been no announcement of any delay in rolling out Paid Leave Oregon (PLO) so it is currently anticipated that paid leave benefits will begin September 3, 2023, as originally planned. See our prior alert: Employee Paid Leave Benefits in Oregon May (Or May Not) Be Delayed Further.
In fact, just this week PLO began accepting applications for benefits from workers, although again, the benefits won’t begin paying out until September.
As a refresher, PLO is a program administered by the Oregon Employment Department (OED) that provides paid family, medical, and safe leave for employees working in Oregon. See, Oregon Enacts Paid Family and Medical Leave. Employers with approved equivalent plans will therefore need to be ready to roll out similar benefits at the beginning of next month, if they haven’t already.
In its media briefing last week, OED representatives indicated that they wanted to open the application process early in hopes of getting a jump start on processing the benefits that will become available on September 3 for the first time. They anticipate that the application processing may take about two weeks on average before benefits will begin and/or employers will receive notice. As a reminder, employees applying for PLO from OED can submit applications not sooner than 30 days before their expected leave, and at the latest, 30 days after the start of their leave. Applying for benefits too early or too late could result in a denial of the employee’s application and eligibility for benefits.
Likewise, the new paid leave law allows employers to require at least 30 days’ notice when the need for leave is foreseeable, just as with the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA). Therefore, employers who have already received (or who may yet receive) notice that an employee intends to take leave when it becomes available in September, may want to let those employees know that they can now apply for those benefits if they want to do so. The application process, along with additional resources and guidance, is available online.
Employers with questions regarding the start of PLO benefits, leave coordination and compliance, revising or updating policies or handbooks, localization or place of performance, or other needs related to these, or other employment-related topics should feel free to reach out to our labor & employment team members for guidance and assistance.
The legal issues impacting this topic are and will continue to be ever-changing (Employment Law in Motion!), and since publication of this blog post, new or additional information not referenced in this blog post may be available.
This article is provided for informational purposes only—it does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the firm and the reader. Readers should consult legal counsel before taking action relating to the subject matter of this article.