Governor Brown Signs Paid Family Leave Bill Into Law

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PORTLAND — Surrounded by legislators, advocacy groups, community members — and quite a few little ones — Governor Kate Brown today signed House Bill 2005 into law, the nation’s most progressive paid family and medical leave policy.  

“I have been working on this issue in some form or another for my entire public service career, “ said Governor Brown. “Oregon families no longer need to make the difficult choice between paying the rent and staying home with their newborn, or between chemotherapy and keeping food on the table.” 

Under HB 2005, every Oregon worker will have access to family and medical leave insurance benefits. Workers will receive up to 12 weeks of paid time off that can be used to care for a new baby, recover from a serious illness, or support newly adopted or foster children. It also provides paid time off for victims of domestic violence and guarantees 100% of wages to low-income workers. 

What Will It Cover? 

The program can cover up to 100% of a worker’s wages, ensuring that families that rely on each and every dollar in a paycheck do not have to worry while they nurture a child, take care of a loved one, or recover from domestic violence. 

Benefits are capped at $1,215, ensuring all low-income Oregonians receive 100% of their wages while they are on family or medical leave.    

Paid family leave is a huge step in the right direction to ensure that families can put in the time that is critical to care for newborns and their early childhood development. In terms of taking care of a family member, without a program such as this, many Oregonians would be in the impossible situation of choosing whether to care for a family member or work to feed their family. 

“The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that does not provide paid maternity leave to working mothers. 3 out of 4 dads take less than one week of leave after the birth of a new child. Nearly 60 percent of low-income fathers take zero weeks of paid leave. Families deserve to have time to love and care for each other,” said Governor Brown. 

The family medical leave insurance benefits program will launch in 2023 as state agencies roll out an implementation plan for the process. The Oregon Employment Department will administer the program, and funds for the program will be raised by a small payroll tax shared by employees and their employers. Once the program launches and an eligible employee submits an application and is approved by the Employment Department, the bill mandates that the department must make reasonable efforts to issue first payment within two weeks of it being approved.

About Author

Efren Zamudio is a Strategic Communications Summer Fellow in the Office of Governor Kate Brown.

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