Greater attention is being paid to worker rights in Oregon and across the United States. For many, this focuses on preventing mistreatment and employment law violations such as wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse. However, it also includes more benefits to workers such extra time off when they need it without fear of repercussions.
Employee advocates have long been trying to make paid family leave the norm. The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) will go into effect in 2023. Workers who have long lamented needing to ask for time off and fearing for their livelihood should be aware of what the law entails and when they can use it. If an employer does not adhere to the law, they can be held accountable.
Key points about OFLA and employee rights under the law
Workers who are employed at a workplace with a minimum of 25 employees may be able to take time off under OFLA. This time is protected and lets workers care for themselves or family members. The difference between what will happen in 2023 and how the law works now is that workers can currently take family leave, but it is frequently unpaid. The new template will pay employees while they are taking their family leave for up to 12 weeks.
Employees can take parental leave, address a serious health condition, take pregnancy disability leave, use sick child leave, take military family leave and take bereavement leave. For example, if the worker has a child, they can use all 12 available weeks to care for and bond with the child. Regarding a serious health condition, it could be the worker themselves who are suffering from it or a family member.
In addition to being paid, the worker will retain their health benefits while they are using OFLA. There are minimums for the number of hours a person must average on a weekly basis to be eligible. They must average 25 hours per work for 180 days.
Workers should be prepared for how OFLA protects them
If an employer tries to dissuade a worker from taking this time off or makes threats about their job security, this is a violation. It is important to remember that currently, employers are not required to pay employees using OFLA. In 2023, they will be required to do so.
This is an example of a change to the law that will impact employees and their awareness is not just so they can maximize their benefits based on the law but to be protected from employment law violations. When someone breaks the law, there are options. Having legal guidance can explain them and provide help with a case.