Dental and Medical Counsel Blog

Oregon Family Leave Act: What You Need To Know

January 25, 2023

The Oregon Family Leave Act provides the security that you will be able to take off from work for certain reasons without worrying about job loss or demotion. What's more, upon returning from your leave of absence, your employer is required to reinstate you back into either the same position or a similar one

What does "protected leave" mean? 

 Though family leave is currently protected under this act, it often remains unpaid unless vacation pay and other forms of paid leave are available and used by employees in their company. Fortunately, paid family leave will soon arrive in Oregon come 2023 - making taking time off easier than ever 

When can I take protected family leave? 

  • OFLA offers up to 12 weeks of protected leave annually for numerous reasons, including parental leave (for either parent) at the time of a birth, adoption, or foster placement. Furthermore, if you use those full 12 weeks as parental leave you can also access an additional 12 weeks solely devoted to caring for a sick child.* Moreover, OFLA recognizes that individuals may need extra time off due to their own serious health condition or when they must care for someone closely related such spouse, parents and grandparents - even same-sex domestic partners and/or direct family members associated with them. 
  • Before or after the birth of your child, you can take up to 12 weeks off for pregnancy disability leave. If your newborn needs extra medical attention, this paid time-off will also apply and even extend beyond the usual 12-week period. Furthermore, if there is an illness or injury plaguing your child that requires home care but isn't severe enough to warrant hospitalization you have up to twelve weeks of sick leave available as well as additional protected time in cases where COVID-related school closures are enforced by public health officials statewide. 

If your loved one is a service member whose been called to active duty or on leave, Military Family Leave may be available for you. Furthermore, as an employee returning from military-related leave, bereavement of up to two weeks can also be provided following the death of family members. On top of that, employers are mandated by law to keep providing their employees with identical health benefits during and after their absence; additionally--and most importantly--employees must be reinstated in either the same job they held prior to leave or a similar position if it no longer exists when coming back from said leaves. 

If you want to be eligible for this time off, then it is paramount that you have worked a minimum of 25 hours per week in the 180-day period leading up to your leave. Additionally, if there has been any layoff or termination due to public health emergency within 30 days before taking leave—the same would not affect your eligibility provided you work at least 25 hours each week during those 30 days. 

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What is sick child leave? 

Sick child leave gives employees the opportunity to take time off of work in order to care for their ill or injured child without it being considered a serious health condition. Furthermore, this benefit allows parents to attend to their children when school and childcare centers are closed due to government-issued public health emergencies such as COVID-19. It's important to note that if an employee has used 12 weeks of OFLA parental leave, additional sick child leave is available automatically. 

What are the main differences between OFLA and FMLA? 

Employers in Oregon with 25 or more employees during the current or past year are subject to OFLA regulations. Employees who have been working for a minimum of 180 days (including any day they were on payroll) and an average of at least 25 hours per week, qualify for protected leave - although parental leave requires no weekly hour requirement. If you've been laid off, terminated or removed from the schedule for 180 days or less, then your eligibility remains unaffected.  

Moreover, during a public health emergency, even 30 days of employment with an average of 25 hours worked in those 30 days qualifies one to take leave without losing eligibility. Companies with fifty or more employees in the past year are obligated to follow FMLA regulations. To be able to take advantage of leave provided by this act, a staff member must have been employed for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) and should have worked 1,250 hours throughout the period immediately preceding their request for leave. Additionally, fifty personnel need to be situated within 75 miles of an employee's working area so that they can qualify as eligible under FMLA. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has distinct categories of leave for military families. One is the military caregiver leave which allows employees to provide care for a servicemember or veteran who sustained an injury or illness while in active service within the last 5 years, allowing them up to 26 weeks off from when they first use this type of leave. This applies if the employee is related by blood, marriage, adoption or guardianship with such person as their parent, spouse, child or next-of-kin. 

Employees who have a parent, spouse or child deployed to serve in a foreign country are eligible for qualifying exigency leave. This type of leave can be used pre- or post-deployment activities such as counseling and recuperation, financial/legal arrangements, arranging childcare and parental care - whatever the employer and employee mutually agree upon is considered a qualifying exigency. 

The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) allows employees to take time off for family-related events, and this list of family members is broader than what the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides. While FMLA only covers serious health conditions concerning yourself or your direct relatives such as a spouse, parent, or child; OFLA not only recognizes those but additionally expands it to cover grandparents/grandchildren, parents-in-law and same sex domestic partners’ families. 

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At Dental & Medical Counsel, PC, we understand navigating the legal process can be tricky. We believe every optometrist deserves the best advice and service so doctors can do what they do best, treat their patients. We make optometrists' lives easier by providing expert guidance, so they can focus on their personal and professional aspirations.

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About Ali Oromchian, Esq.

Ali Oromchian, JD, LL.M. is the founding attorney of the Dental & Medical Counsel, PC law firm and is renowned for his expertise in legal matters

In addition to practicing law for almost 20 years, Ali is also a renowned speaker, throughout North America, on topics such as practice transitions, employment law, negotiation strategies, estate planning, and more! Ali has helped hundreds of optometrists realize their professional goals and looks forward to aiding you in navigating the legal landscape. 


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