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Oregon Paid Leave Program for All Workers Lifts Off in 2023

Eric Tegethoff, Producer | https://www.publicnewsservice.org/

(Public News Service) Oregon is joining the ranks of states providing paid leave for all workers.

In January, employees and employers will begin paying into the program. Workers will be able to apply for benefits in September.

Karen Humelbaugh, director of the Paid Leave Oregon program for the Oregon Employment Department, said the program is important for the safety and welfare of communities.

“Some of us have had paid leave through our employer, but many Oregonians do not have any form of paid leave,” Humelbaugh explained. “This helps to create this level playing field and vital safety net for all Oregonians who are working.”

Paid leave of up to 12 weeks a year will be available in three situations. The first is family leave so people can take care of a family member, newborn, or adopted child. The second is medical leave for someone’s own health. And the third is safe leave for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, or stalking.

Humelbaugh pointed out COVID has taught us life is unpredictable, illuminating how vital a program like this is. She noted workers should understand where funds for this program are coming from.

“The contributions are going to start to come out of their checks beginning on January 1st of 2023,” Humelbaugh noted. “Workers understand also that they’re sharing that contribution rate with their large employer if they have a large employer.”

Workers will pay in 60% of the contribution rate and employers with 25 or more employees will pay 40%. So, for a worker making $50,000 a year, they will contribute $300 annually and their employer will contribute $200.

Oregon is among 11 states offering paid family and medical leave and the last state on the West Coast to offer the benefits.

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