By Audra Hedberg, PHR, PHRca, SHRM-SCP, Vice President of Services

In March 2024, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 1515. In May 2024, The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued an additional administrative order, which introduced major changes requiring employers to shift gears significantly and adopt a new approach for how leaves of absences are handled in the state of Oregon. Employers should review their current leave process, update employee handbooks, including leave of absence and paid time off policies, as necessary. Here is an overview of what employers need to know about SB 1515.

Key aspects of Senate Bill 1515 (SB 1515)

  • Senate Bill 1515 amends the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) and Paid Leave Oregon (PLO). The bill is effective July 1, 2024, and the purpose of the amendment is to streamline OFLA and PLO leave reasons.
  • Before SB 1515 was passed, employers were accustomed to numerous reasons for employees to take a protected leave of absences covered by PLO and or OFLA. Effective July 1, 2024, OFLA now only covers leave for one of the following reasons:
  • Home care for the employee’s child (both serious and non-serious health conditions) as well as school and childcare closures for public health emergencies
  • Bereavement leave
  • For pregnancy-related disability leave
  • Military family leave
  • PLO will cover:
  • Caring for and bonding with a child in their first year
  • For an employee’s own serious health condition, which may include pregnancy disability
  • Caring for a family member who has a serious health condition
  • If an employee or employee’s child is a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, bias crimes or stalking

From July 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024, OFLA will provide up to two additional weeks of leave to facilitate the legal processes required for placing a foster child or adoption. PLO will incorporate this leave beginning in 2025.

Because OFLA will no longer cover parental leave, leave for an employee’s own serious health condition, or care for a serious health condition of a family member, BOLI is requiring all employers to notify employees with OFLA leave approved for July 1 or later that OFLA will no longer cover their absence. As part of this notice, BOLI requires employers to provide information on PLO, as those leave reasons may now be covered under PLO. Employers have the option to designate these leaves as personal leave (or FMLA, if applicable) but cannot be designated as OFLA leave as of July 1, 2024.

Additionally, under BOLI’s administrative order, employers must also provide information about the changes to OFLA to any employee who requests leave that OFLA will not cover as of July 1st. Notice should be provided as soon as practicable, as long as it is within 14 calendar days of the request.

Other Senate Bill 1515 Updates

  • OFLA will provide up to 12 additional weeks for pregnancy disability. Pregnancy disability is also covered under PLO (and likely FMLA), though OFLA and PLO leaves for pregnancy disability cannot run concurrently.
  • FMLA regulations have not changed. FMLA generally applies to employers with 50 or more employees and employees may still be able to take both FMLA and PLO time.
  • Covered family members will now be the same under OFLA, PLO and under Oregon’s Paid Sick Leave law.
  • Employees taking PLO may use any accrued paid time off to “top up” their pay from PLO to 100% of their standard pay while on leave. Employers may choose to allow employees to go beyond 100% of their regular pay though whatever option an employer chooses, it should be reflected in a policy and/or employee handbook.
  • OFLA leave is capped at 12 weeks for home care of the employee’s child and bereavement. Bereavement leave is now limited to two weeks per family member, with a maximum of four weeks in a given leave year.
  • OFLA will no longer provide additional sick child leave for employees who take 12 weeks of leave for parental reasons.

Adapting to regulatory changes can be challenging. Trüpp is here to provide assistance where needed to make these transitions as smooth as possible for your organization. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!