23 www.ortrucking.org Issue 3 | 2022 Who is Defined as a “Family”? ` Spouse or domestic partner ` Child, or the child’s spouse or domestic partner ` Parent, or the parent’s spouse or domestic partner ` Sibling, or stepsibling or the sibling’s or stepsibling’s spouse or domestic partner ` Grandparent, or the grandparent’s spouse or domestic partner ` Grandchild, or the grandchild’s spouse or domestic partner `Any individual related by blood, or an affinity whose close association with an eligible employee is the equivalent of a family relationship An employee can take medical, family, and safe leave in any combination not to exceed 12 weeks of paid leave in a benefit year. An additional two weeks of paid leave is available to women for pregnancy, childbirth, or related circumstances for a total of 14 weeks of paid leave. An employee may qualify for four additional weeks of unpaid family leave for a qualifying reason under ORS 659A.159 (opens a new window) for a maximum total of 18 weeks of leave. How is This Being Funded ? Employers will pay 40% of PFML contributions, and employees will pay 60%. Employers with fewer than 25 employees are exempt from contributing, but employees, regardless of employer size will be required to contribute. Employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of benefits per year, with an additional two weeks of benefits for pregnancy-related leave. An employee can take a total of 16 weeks a year under the program in any combination of paid and unpaid leave (18 weeks if pregnancy-related leave is also taken). Benefits are based on the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum. Leave is job-protected. Employers may request approval to provide leave benefits through equivalent programs. Can I Opt Out? If you have 25 or more employees, you will be obligated to contribute to paid leave. However, you do have the option of offering an equivalent plan to the state of Oregon’s via a private insurance plan. There are many reasons to consider this route, from rate savings to rate stability, to claims adjudication. We are confident that by transferring this paid leave risk to an insurance company (whose day-today job is managing claims), employees will be paid timelier, claims tracked more efficiently, and claims investigated more thoroughly. Furthermore, this insurance policy will not go into effect until Sep. 3, 2023, the official start date of the program. If participating in the State’s program, you will be paying 8-plus months of a 1% tax into the trust fund without any benefit. The state will begin accepting applications to approve private insurance plans beginning Sept. 6. In order to qualify with a private insurance plan, the state will need to approve this plan prior to November 30, 2022. If you are interested in looking at your options, please contact me. OTA is currently developing a program to offer future solutions. Dan is Vice President and Managing Shareholder at LaPorte Insurance. LaPorte is the OTA’s endorsed Employee Benefits insurance broker.