Oregon Passes the Most Generous Paid Family Leave Law in the US

The state will be the first to pay low-income workers 100 percent of their wages when they’re off.
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Associate Editor
July 2, 2019
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Move over, Connecticut. There’s a new title-holder in town.

Oregon just became the eighth state in the US to pass a paid family leave bill, HuffPost reports. The bill comes a month after Connecticut made headlines for a similar family leave policy, and goes even further to become the most generous family leave policy in the US.

Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law on Monday afternoon. “In 1991, as an advocate for the Women’s Rights Coalition, I first began working on paid family leave,” she says in a statement. “Now, we can finally tell parents that they no longer will have to worry about losing their pay when they are having a baby or need to care for a loved one.”

What it Offers

The policy offers 12 weeks of paid time off. Plus, Oregeon will be the first state to pay low-income workers 100 percent of their wages when they’re off, with weekly benefits capped at around $1,215.

Who It Covers

  • New parents
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • People who need to care for an ill family member or themselves
  • Nearly all workers will have access to the benefit, including those who work part-time. You just have to earn at least $1,000 in wages a year to qualify

How it Works

In order to roll out the new plan, the state will administer the benefit and start collecting a small payroll tax—no more than 1 percent—from employees and employers. Workers won’t start receiving paid time off until 2023.

Paid Family Leave in the US

Oregon is the latest state to be jumping on the paid family leave bandwagon, and is now the eighth state in the nation to have a policy in place. Four states, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York, currently require paid family leave.

Last month, Connecticut passed a similar policy, which offers low-wage workers up to 96 percent of their paychecks during 12 weeks off, capped at $900 a week.

A universal paid family leave measure became law in Washington, D.C. in February 2017, and will take effect on July 1, 2020. The state of Washington passed SB 5975 in July 2017 to commence a paid leave program at the start of 2020. And last July, Massachusetts passed its paid family leave law which goes into effect in 2021.

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