AOI testimony: Family Leave Law, How Oregon compares

AOI Testifies on Oregon’s Family Leave Laws
By  J.L. Wilson –
Associated Oregon Industries

AOI provided testimony this week to the House Business and Labor Committee on the unwieldy nature of Oregon’s family leave laws. The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) provides the most generous workplace leave provisions of any state in the nation. Oregon employers bear an extraordinary cost to administer this law which employers in 49 other states do not.

AOI routinely works on family leave issues in every legislative session, often testifying and working in opposition to expansion of the law. It was AOI’s intention this week to give legislators an snapshot view of the Oregon law in relation to the other 49 states. Oftentimes, well-intentioned legislators propose various expansions of OFLA without knowing just how out-of-place these expansions are in the national context.

You can see AOI’s testimony here.

Oregon is only one of roughly 12 states which have chosen to overlay a state-specific family leave act on top of the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Oregon is one of only four states which applies its family leave act to small businesses. The federal law applies to companies with 50 or more employees. Oregon levies its act on employers of 25 or more.

Oregon is one of only two states that requires six months of part-time employment to qualify for OFLA leave. Most states and the federal government require 12 months of consecutive employment to qualify.

Oregon’s leave benefits are the richest of the 50 states. An employee in Oregon could conceivably take up to 36 weeks of leave through a combination of pregnancy disability, serious medical condition leave, sick child leave, and parental leave. Only California offers comparable leave (up to 28 weeks). Most state-specific family leave laws grant six to 10 weeks per year of leave.

Oregon also has the most expansive definition of “family” for which family leave benefits apply.

Finally, Oregon appears to be the only state to offer “sick child leave,” which allows up to 12 weeks of leave per year for non-serious health issues. The law is even so generous to allow up to three days of this leave with no medical verification.

AOI’s message to the committee: Please hold off on expanding Oregon’s leave laws – they are already the most generous in the nation. In just the past year, AOI fended off legislative proposals to add two weeks of bereavement leave to OFLA, as well as expand OFLA to include care for siblings as qualifying leave.

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