Oregon Paid Family Leave


Alternative jobs

Those on medical leave some times ponder if it is acceptable for them to have another job or to get another job while on leave.  The answer is no you cannot.  You are technically employed and are on leave due to a medical emergency.  So you can’t go out and get another job.  However, if you previously had another part time job or hobby that you were able to make a living with, working on your spare time and on weekends then perhaps that would be acceptable.  Just don’t let your employer know about it.  Like, for example, say you had a hobby of making handmade dresses on your spare time and you made them so well that people were willing to buy them.  And for the last few years, you were able to sell them.  On your leave, it should be fine for you to do that while you are home on your medical leave.  Or say, you made some extra money by running a blog on the Internet.  Your blog was so popular that you were able to sell various things on it and get commission on those sales, you can continue to do those things while on medical leave.

The key is that you are not going out and performing the same task with another company that you should be doing for your current employer.  That is not acceptable and can get you in deep trouble.

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Enforcement Bureau

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is assigned with the task of administrating the Oregon Family Leave Act.  If you feel your rights were violated under the Act then you need to file a complaint with the Bureau.  You can also file suit in both State and Federal Court depending on whether any federal statutes apply to your circumstances.

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Burden of proof

According to the Ninth United States Circuit of Appeals, an employer who denies an employee reinstatement after they took time off for a authorized reason for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, has the burden to prove that they had a valid reasons.  Historically, courts have gone back and forth.  Some have required the employee to prove that the employer did not have reasonable cause to not reinstate them.  While other courts have placed the burden of proof on the employer.

If one were to look at the applicable federal statutes, it seems clear that the burden rests with the employer.  While the case law is split.  Nevertheless, the current authoritative law in Oregon is that the burden is on the employer to provide that they had a reasonable reason to not reinstate the employee after they come back from a legitimate medical leave.

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Family member defined

A family member under the Family Medical Leave Act is defined as a son, daughter, spouse or parent.  This means that the protection under the Act does not extend to domestic partners.  A son or daugther is any child under 18 who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a step child or a legal ward, or a child for whom you are financially responsible and supervise on a day to day basis.

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Oregon Military Family Leave Act

The Oregon legislator in 2009 passed House Bill 2744 which states that during military conflict, an employee who is a spouse of a member of the armed forces, national guard, or military reserve, who has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty or impending leave from deployment - is entitled to a total of 14 days of unpaid leave per deployment before deploymnet and/or leave from deployment.

Notice must be provided 5 business days before you intend to take leave.

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Oregon Family Leave Act

The Oregon Family Leave Act, passed in 1995, states that employers with 25 or more employees must provide their workers with job protected leave to care for themselves or family members in case of illiness, injury, childbirth and adoption.  To be eligible, the employee must be employed with the company for at 180 days prior to the lave  and work at least an average of 25 hours per way in the 180 day period.  For parental leave, you quality if you have work at the current employer for at least 180 days.  There is no min. hours requirement to satisfy.

Generally, employees are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of family leave within the employer's 12 month leave year.  A woman using pregnancy disability leave is entitled to 12 additional weeks of leave in the same leave year for any qualifying OFLA purpose.  A man or woman using a full 12 weeks of parental leave is entitled to take up to 12 additional weeks for purposes of sick child leave.

30 days advance notice is required unless the leave is due to an emergency.

Family leave is unpaid.  However employees can use their accrued vacation paid, sick and other paid leave to compensate their lost pay.

In all cases, the employer must return employees to their former job or equivalent job if the former position no longer exists.

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