The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave for certain reasons. Once an employee’s leave is over, the employee has the right to be reinstated to their position. Just like employers in every other state, employers in Oregon must follow the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). State laws in Oregon also give employees the right to take time off for family and medical reasons.

What are the Rights of Employees in Oregon?

Employers in Oregon who have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year are subject to the FMLA. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:

  • They have worked for the company for at least a year;
  • Worked at least 1,250 hours the previous year; and
  • They work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

Eligible Oregon employees can take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. Although FMLA leave is unpaid, employees may either be allowed or required to use their accrued paid leave during this leave.  While on leave, they are also entitled to have their health insurance at the same cost they must pay while working. Barring a few exceptions, employees are entitled to be reinstated to the same or similar position once their leave is over. As long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements mentioned above, this leave can be renewed every 12 months. An employee can take a leave for the following reasons:

  • Bonding with a new child.
  • Recovering from a serious health condition.
  • Caring for a family member who has a serious health condition.
  • Preparing for a family member’s military service.
  • Employees who need to care for a family member who was seriously injured on active military duty. Such employees are also entitled for more leave.

What are the Different State Laws on Family and Medical Leave?

Several state laws give Oregon employees the right to take time off from work. Such laws include the Oregon Family and Medical Leave Act and the Oregon Sick Leave Law.  Under the Oregon Sick Leave Law, employers are required to provide employees with one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours of work. Under this law, up to 40 hours of leave must carry over from year to year although an employee’s total sick leave balance can be capped at 80 hours. Employers who have ten or more employees are required to provide paid time off. Employers with fewer than ten employees can provide unpaid time off. Employees can also use sick leave in one-hour increments.

Under the Oregon Family and Medical Leave Act, employers who have at least 25 employees are required to give time off to eligible employees for the following reasons:

  • To care for a family member who has a serious health condition. Family members include grandparents, grandchildren, domestic partners, the parents and children of domestic partners as well as parents-in-law.
  • For the employee’s own serious health condition.
  • To deal with the death of a family member.
  • For prenatal care or pregnancy disability.
  • For the birth or adoption of a child or for the placement of a foster child.
  • To provide care for a sick child who requires care at home. An employee can take leave for this reason only if there is no other family member who is willing and able to provide care for the child. 

There are also more benefits to employees under this law. Employees who take up to 12 weeks of leave in a one-year period can also take more leave for the following reasons:

  • An employee can take 12 weeks of pregnancy disability leave even after taking 12 weeks of leave for any other reason mentioned above.
  • An employee can take an additional 12 weeks of sick child leave after taking 12 weeks of parental leave.
  • An employee can also combine the leave for pregnancy disability, parental leave and sick child leave and take up to 36 weeks of leave.

Should I Contact an Attorney?

Employees in Oregon have the right to take time off from work under both federal and state laws. If you feel that your employer is not providing you a leave that you are entitled to under the law, then it may be a good idea to consult an experienced employment law attorney before proceeding.