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Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave (OR PFML)

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Your resource for preparing for OR PFML

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Sun Life is eager to meet your Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave (OR PFML) needs for equivalent plan administration. Sun Life’s OR PFML plan integrates with its Short-Term Disability plans, featuring one claim submission, one claim number, one case manager, and integrated reporting for employers.

Sun Life has created this website for employers and brokers to help comply with responsibilities under the OR PFML law. Please visit this site often for updates.

Additionally, the State of Oregon Employment Department is the agency responsible for administering the OR PFML law. Information from the Employment Department about equivalent plans can be found on the Paid Leave Oregon website.

Webinar:

Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave webinar

video thumbnail

Date: September 8, 2022

Description:

 

Sun Life U.S. Senior Counsel, Abigail O’Connell, Director, Product Management, Carla Fritz, and Senior Employee Benefits Representative, Madeline Wiggins provided an overview of OR PFML, how it interacts with unpaid OFLA, the equivalent plan application process, trends, and the benefits of integration with Sun Life.

 

Download the slide deck with updated slide 14.

OR PFML Overview

Milestones

Quick Facts

Key Dates

  • September 6, 2022 – State allows equivalent plan applications through Frances Online
  • November 30, 2022last day to submit application to ensure equivalent plan approval by December 31, 2022 and receive exemption from contribution requirement
  • January 1, 2023 – Employers who do not have an approved equivalent plan exemption start paying contributions
  • September 3, 2023 – Benefits start

Benefit duration

  • 12 weeks of paid leave per year
  • Additional 2 weeks for limitations related to pregnancy

Leave reasons

  • Family Leave – to care for a family member with a serious illness or injury, or to bond with a new child after birth, adoption or foster care placement
  • Medical Leave – for one’s own serious health condition
  • Safe Leave – for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, or stalking

Maximum benefit

  • 120% of SAWW

   

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Sun Life intends to offer both fully insured and self-insured equivalent plan administration for employers.

Employers: All private employers, state agencies and local governmental agencies in the state of Oregon must provide PFML insurance for their employee.

Self-employed individuals and Tribal Governments can elect coverage.

Employees:

Any employee is eligible for benefits under the OR PFML law if they have earned at least $1,000 in wages during the base year. If an employee has not earned $1,000 in wages during the base year, employees may be eligible if they have earned at least $1,000 in wages during the alternate base year.

Base year means the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters preceding the benefit year.

Alternate base year means the last 4 completed calendar quarters preceding the benefit year.

Benefit amounts are based on an employees’ total wages with each employer.

  • Two-Tiered Benefit Calculation:
    • 100% of the employee’s Average Weekly Wages (AWW) for wages up to 65% of the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW);
    • any amount of the employee’s wage that exceeds 65% of the SAWW will be paid at 65% of the SAWW plus 50% of the amount earned over 65% of the SAWW.
  • AWW is employee’s total wages paid during the base year divided by the number of weeks in the base year.
    • “Base year” is first 4 of last 5 completed calendar quarters.
    •  “Alternate Base year” is the last 4 completed calendar quarters preceding the Benefit year.

The max weekly benefit is 120% of the SAWW which will be adjusted once per year.

The min weekly benefit is 5% of the SAWW which will be adjusted once per year.

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks in a benefit year to care for themselves or a family member, and up to 2 additional weeks for pregnancy, childbirth, or related circumstances. 

No, there is no waiting period for benefits.

Medical leave is available due to employee’s own serious health condition*.

Family leave is available to an employee:

  • To bond with a covered individual’s child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, or placement of a child under 18 years of age.
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Safe leave is available when needed due to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Harassment or Stalking:

  • To seek legal or law enforcement support to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent, including preparing for and participating in protective order, civil, or criminal proceedings.
  • To seek medical treatment for, or to recover from, injuries to employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
  • To obtain, or to assist a minor child or dependent in obtaining, counseling from a licensed mental health professional.
  • To obtain services from a victim services provider for the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.
  • To relocate or take steps to secure an existing home to ensure the health and safety of the eligible employee or the employee’s minor child or dependent.

*The definition of serious health condition aligns with that under the federal FMLA. Namely, a serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition involving inpatient care or continuing treatment.

Covered family members include a child, grandchild, grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or domestic partner, or any individual who has a familial relationship with the employee. 

To be eligible for job protection, the employee must have been employed for the employer for at least 90 days before taking leave under OR PFML.

For employers that employ fewer than 25 employees, if the position held by an eligible employee when the employee’s leave commenced no longer exists, an employer may, at the employer’s discretion based on business necessity, restore the eligible employee to a different position with similar job duties and with the same employment benefits and pay.

The Paid Leave Oregon state plan is funded through a payroll-based contribution. For 2023, the rate is 1% of up to $132,900 in wages. The rate will be set annually.

  • Employees pay 60% of that rate.
  • Employers pay 40% unless they have fewer than 25 employees (i.e., categorized as a small employer)
  • Smaller than 25 employees: premium is not required but can be paid to secure for at least 8 quarters to secure the employer’s right to access certain grant money to be used in the event of employee leave.

A replacement worker who is hired to temporarily replace an employee on OR PFML leave will not be counted as an employee in determining the number of employees working for an employer.

Beginning in September 2023, an employer will be able to apply to the Director of the Employment Department for approval of a fully insured or self-administered equivalent plan via Frances Online.

An employer seeking approval will be required to submit an application to the Director accompanied by an application fee of $250.

The Director will approve an application for a plan if the Director finds that the plan is made available to all employees who have been continuously employed by an employer for at least 30 calendar days; employee contributions are not greater than what the state plan would charge; and the benefits afforded to employees covered under the plan are equal to or greater than the weekly benefits and the duration of leave that an eligible employee would qualify for under the state plan.

If approved, the employer will not be required to remit employer or employee contributions to the state plan.

  • The employer may deduct employee contributions to fund an equivalent plan, provided the contributions do not exceed the amount the employee would remit under the state plan. Any contributions taken by the employer to fund an equivalent plan must be used for plan expenses and are not considered employer assets.

Employers offering equivalent plans are required to meet reporting, notice, records, job protection and benefits continuation requirements.

Equivalent plans must remain in effect for a minimum of one year. Employers will be required to reapply once per year for three years following the initial approval of an equivalent plan. The cost for renewal each year has been set at $150. Thereafter, reapproval is required only for plan changes.

Yes. While the OR PFML law creates certain paid benefits for leave because of an employee’s own health condition or for covered caregiving reasons, the OR PFML law is not intended to replace benefits provided by employers through Short-Term Disability (STD) plans and programs. It is important to know that cancelling STD benefits could leave your employees unprotected if they become disabled for these reasons:

  1. Benefit amount for higher-income employees. The OR PFML max weekly benefit may be insufficient for high-income earners who require greater income replacement.
  2. Consequences of combined 12 weeks of family and medical leave. If an employee takes 12 weeks of family leave in a 12-month period, the employee may be left without income replacement for their own serious health condition in the same timeframe.
  3. Impact of intermittent leave. OR PFML can be taken intermittently so an employee may substantially reduce and/or exhaust their benefits and be left without income replacement protection if they become seriously and continuously disabled thereafter.
  4. Short-Term Disability may offer additional features and benefits. STD policies may include employee-facing features that improve their experience: first-day hospitalization, survivor benefits, and, most importantly, return-to-work and vocational rehabilitation programs. Employees can still access these features even if they are approved for both OR PFML and STD.

Sun Life is committed to assisting you in complying with the requirements of the new OR PFML law and with providing valuable employee benefits to your employees. We also offer leave and accommodations administration services. Please reach out to us and we will evaluate your benefit plans and compliance needs from a holistic perspective and provide guidance and services to meet you and your employees’ needs.

  • Questions?

    Please call your Sun Life Client Relationship Executive.

    If you have fewer than 100 employees, please call Client Services at 1-800-247-6875.

Content is subject to change as Sun Life receives guidance from states and municipalities. This content is not to be considered legal advice. We recommend Clients speak with legal counsel specializing in labor and employment law to ensure your organization has met all of the requirements under the Oregon Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) Act, and other applicable leave laws including but not limited to the federal FMLA and the Oregon Family Leave Act. When available, Sun Life’s fully insured OR PFML coverage, subject to regulatory approval, will be issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). Sun Life’s self-funded or administrative-services-only OR PFML solution will be administered by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). This service is not insurance.

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PFMLWC-918

SLPC 31728 08/22 (exp. 08/24)