Oregon Considers Paid Family & Medical Leave

A bill in the state legislature could give many Oregon workers 12 weeks of paid leave to address family, medical, or domestic violence issues starting in 2023.  

House Bill 2005 represents an alliance formed during negotiations over the Republican Senate walkout in April, when business organizations agreed not to oppose a paid leave plan that would otherwise be considered a new tax.  

Employees who have earned at least $1,000 in wages are eligible for this plan, with 60 percent of contributions coming from employees and 40 percent from employers.   

The rate for employees’ contributions cannot exceed 1% of their wages. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt from the requirements.  

The bill is still working through committees in the legislature, and since it is considered a form of payroll tax, it will require a three-fifths vote of both the House and Senate to pass.   

House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) told reporters that the paid leave plan will likely come up during the last week of June, the final week of the legislative session. Kotek originally wanted to end the session on June 21, but now says they will work until the end of the month. She says the paid leave bill is waiting until the end because of “the complexity of the workplace [laws]” involved. 

By Ian MacRonald