Paid Leave Oregon Bulletin

April 2023 Bulletin - 04/18/2023

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April 18, 2023    

April Spotlight: Your top five questions answered

Almost 1,000 people connected with us in March using the Contact Us form. We wanted to share answers to the top five questions we are hearing the most. 

1. I am due to give birth before benefits start in September. Can I apply for paid leave?​​​​​​​

Yes! Even if your new family member arrives before benefits begin, you can apply for paid leave any time within the first year of your child’s birth for caring and bonding time. The same is true if you are adopting or for foster care placement – you can apply for paid leave during the first year of a child’s placement. Benefits begin Sept. 3, 2023.

2. How does Paid Leave Oregon work with Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), sick leave and paid time off?

Employees must take leave under Paid Leave Oregon and OFLA and FMLA at the same time, if the reason for taking leave is the same for both. Paid leave benefits are in addition to other types of paid time off, such as sick leave, vacation time, short or long-term disability, or any other kind of paid time off. This chart, designed in partnership with the Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI), shows the differences between Paid Leave Oregon, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA).

3. As an employee, can I opt out of paying for paid leave?

No. The law that created paid leave applies to all employees. There is no way for an individual employee to opt out. Most of us will experience life events when we need time to care for ourselves or those we love. The goal is for all working Oregonians to be able to get benefits when they need them.

4. What happens if I don’t ever use these benefits?

Your contributions for Paid Leave Oregon go into a state trust fund. In turn, this trust fund pays for benefits for when you or other working Oregonians need them. It’s like an insurance policy. You do not get your car insurance payments back if you don’t get in an accident. However, anyone who claims paid leave benefits will have to meet certain rules and conditions to make sure they are eligible.

5. How do we know if the fund will have enough money to cover everyone who claims paid leave benefits?

Employees and employers have been paying into the trust fund since January 2023. At this time, we expect the trust fund to be big enough to start paying benefits in September 2023. This is called being solvent. We expect to have about $397 million in the trust fund before benefits begin.

Language access and Frances Online

When Frances Online goes live for employees in Oregon on Aug. 14, it will be available in both English and Spanish, the two most common languages in our state. 

The Oregon Employment Department is working to establish timelines for more languages. Until then, we are taking measures to assist customers with language access for when Paid Leave Oregon benefit applications go-live in August.

Those steps include:

  • Expanding our website, currently available in six languages (English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese) to eight (Korean and Arabic) by August
  • Continuing to translate all employee-facing materials and resources into 12 languages and employer-facing materials into six languages
  • Translating the Frances Online chat bot for employees into Oregon’s most used languages
  • Creating tutorial videos on Paid Leave Oregon processes, including how to apply for benefits using Frances Online, in the eight languages available on our Paid Leave Oregon website
  • Directing customers to phone numbers to get help in their specific language

Having Frances Online available in both English and Spanish is just a starting place. Right now, we are focused on using our limited resources to make sure the rollout of benefits in August goes smoothly. As we learn what works best for our customers, we’ll roll out more languages based on their usage rates in Oregon. 

Oregon continues to lead the way on language access and accessibility for paid leave programs nationally by translating our website, forms, and all external materials. We remain committed to building a program centered on equity and the best outcomes for Oregonians.

Reminder for Employers and Third-Party Administrators: Don’t wait, file today.

Log into Frances Online: If you haven’t already, create an account with Frances Online and make sure you can log in. You can find Frequently Asked Questions, resources, and support for the Frances Online system online. If you  prefer to file by paper, you can find the updated forms online. Details are in our March Paid Leave Oregon bulletin.

Opportunities to join Paid Leave Oregon and OED    

Are you passionate about providing benefits to others and ensuring businesses, small employers, and employees are treated fairly? Consider joining the Paid Leave Oregon team.  Additional Oregon Employment Department job openings are posted in Workday.

Contact Paid Leave Oregon   
Form: Contact Us   
Call: 833-854-0166 (toll-free)

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