Paid Leave Oregon (PLO) is a new program for employees to take paid leave to care for themselves or family members.
The tax to fund PLO went into effect January 1, 2023. However, employees cannot take paid leave until September 3, 2023.
What are Employers Required to do?
On January 1, 2023 employers were required to give notice of this new law to existing and afterwards to new employees. Cardinal has already provided this notice (insert link) to our Employee Portal and it is part of our new hire paperwork. You should also post this poster in your workplace.
On September 3, 2023 employers will have to grant leave for those that qualify. Leave time granted is protected in most circumstances. An exception is if the employee has worked for you for less than 90 days before taking leave, the employer does not have to hold open that position.
If you co-employ with Cardinal,
& Cardinal is the employer of record:
Providing Leave Notice
● Provide a PLO notice to employees. Cardinal has already provided this notice in our Employee Portal and it is part of our new hire paperwork.
● Notify Cardinal if an employee is taking leave. Cardinal will handle the rest! Like contact with the PLO, the employee, OFLA/FMLA eligibility, tracking PLO leave as well as answering any of your questions.
If you process payroll through Cardinal
but You are the employer of record:
Providing Leave Notice
● You should also post this poster in your workplace.
● Give Employees a copy of this notice using normal communication methods (for example handing it out or emailing it to employees).
● Track initial leave requests.
● Coordinate with the PLO and employee on approved/disallowed leave requests.
● Review for concurrent leave like OFLA, FMLA (see guide).
● Top off leave that can run concurrently with paid leave under the PLO (see guide).
● Review reinstatement and placement when leave ends.
PLO News and Information
How much time can an employee take off?
Generally employees can take off up to 12 weeks. See Oregon Leave Guide for details and exceptions. Note that leave can be taken off in daily increments.
As an employer, how will I know employees are taking and approved for PLO?
In general, employees are supposed to give a 30 days notice for paid leave. However, there are are provisions for a 24 hour notice that can be given verbally with a written notice within 3 days of taking leave. What is not clear is the mechanism that the PLO notifies the employer, presumably the employer of record (Cardinal). When Cardinal is contacted with an approved or declined paid leave notice, we will contact you.
What do employees get paid by the PLO?
There are limits but employees are paid based on pay from the previous year. This amount is determined by the PLO. See Oregon Leave Guide chart as an example.
Are there Reinstatement Rights?
OFLA previously provided that if an equivalent position is not available at the same job site, the employee may be offered an equivalent job at a location within 20 miles of the prior job site. Effective September 3, 2023, OFLA will require that if an equivalent position is not available at the same job site, the employee must be offered an equivalent position at a different location if such a position is available, but the location need only be within 50 miles of the prior job site.
2023 – Double Dipping of Leave
Generally OFLA/FMLA run concurrently with PLO leave. But employees who take OFLA/FMLA before September 3, 2023 can qualify for PLO (and protected leave again) after Stepember 3, 2023.
Who pays Benefits Coverage?
If the employer elects to cover the employee-portion of the insurance premium while the employee is on leave (which an employer is not required to do), the employer may deduct those costs from the employee’s paycheck upon the employee’s return from leave. Deductions must not exceed 10% of the employee’s gross pay.
Who qualifies for PLO?
Oregon employees that have earned at least $1000 in the previous year and that can document the need to take leave based on PLO requirements. An example would be a mother taking leave to give birth and care for a child. Please see Oregon Leave Guide for details of what qualifies for PLO leave.
Who determines if leave is approved?
PLO is supposed to request the required paperwork and issue a decision if the employee is qualified to take paid leave.
What if an employee qualifies for PLO and something else like Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA)?
Employees may qualify for PLO but also other types of protective leave and run those concurrently. Employees get the protections of any leave they qualify for, whichever is more advantageous to them. Cardinal will administer the other types of leave in coordination of the PLO. Please see the chart below which explains the nuances of PLO but also OFLA, Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Oregon sick leave.
How do Employers inform Employees about the Benefits of the PLO?
Make sure you are posting a notice about the PLO in your workplace. You can also post this notice about how to access the PLO and provide notice with this announcement.
Where do I send Employees who want to use or have questions about the PLO?
Employees have documentation on the PLO in their employee file but Cardinal has built a web page: cardinalservices.com/paid-leave-oregon-employees/ so they can provide employees a form to provide notice of leave as well as direct them to apply for leave with the Oregon Employment Department.
Can the Employer cap Top Off Payouts?
Yes, the employer can limit the amount of paid leave (vacation, PTO, sick leave) to 100% of their normal wages. It is possible for employers to allow unlimited use of available paid leave but Cardinal recommends speaking with our HR Team about possible complications.
How do Employees access PLO?
Employees can go to the PLO website, paidleave.oregon.gov, and create an account using Frances Online. Employees can access Frances Online to apply for PLO as of August 14, 2023.
Event before September 3, 2023 but extends beyond?
If an employee has an event that should qualify but is before September 3, 2023 but extends beyond that date will they qualify?
Based on guidance from the PLO, this employee should qualify for leave as of September 3, 2023.
What type of policy do I need to put in place because of the PLO?
Cardinal recommends that you use our model language if you have your own handbook. If you use our standard handbook we will add this and send it out to all employees where Cardinal is the employer of record.
If my employee fails to give proper notice (30 days or 24 hours for emergency leave), will they get their leave denied?
Topping Off PLO Leave
Paid Leave Oregon may not replace all of an employee’s wages/salary. Employees may top off hours with paid leave but not exceed pre-leave wages/salary. Employees may request this via the Cardinal leave request form.
Paid Leave Oregon Policy Language
INSERT INTO YOUR EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
Paid Leave Oregon provides paid leave for specified employee and family health needs. Subject to eligibility, the Company provides protected leave as prescribed by the State of Oregon under Paid Leave Oregon. Eligibility is determined by Paid Leave Oregon. To access this benefit, employees must contact Paid Leave Oregon. Employees must provide verbal and/or written notice to the Company within timelines established under Paid Leave Oregon. If an employee’s gross wages are less then what they are being paid under Paid Leave Oregon, and if an employee has available sick, vacation, and/or Paid Time Off, the employee may top off, but not exceed their pre-leave wages or salary.
Please note the last sentence in this policy. According to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, employees can top off PLO payments with paid leave, like sick leave but it is their choice. This is counter to other leaves like OFLA where employers, as a best practice, have employees use up any leave during unpaid protective leave.
Have more Questions? Contact us today!
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