The Paid Leave Oregon program will serve Oregonians by providing paid leave during life's important moments whether it's the: birth or adoption of a child, yours or a loved one's serious illness or if you have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or harassment. Paid Leave Oregon is developing a program for all Oregon employers and employees that will provide easily accessible benefits that help our state, and each of us, maintain quality of life, economic stability, and peace of mind.
The Employment Department is responsible for developing and administering this program. We are in the early stages of this process and will provide more information as it becomes available. We will request input from workers and businesses as we move forward with the planning and we expect to work closely with those impacted by this new program to make sure it meets the diverse needs throughout the state.
Read the text of HB 2005 and the Program Charter to learn more about our program.
The scope of establishing the state's paid family and medical leave insurance program is outlined in ORS chapter 657B. The project is very large and consists of standing up an entire division within the Oregon Employment Department to develop and administer the PFMLI program for Oregonians. There are a number of critical work streams which include detailed project management plans outlining scope, schedule, and deliverables. The ultimate goal is to deliver benefits to Oregonians who qualify for this crucial program. To do that we need to:
How are we going to deliver the program?
- Establish the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Division.
- Develop formal rules, policies, and standards for the program.
- Build out all necessary technology to receive contributions and deliver benefits.
- Conduct outreach statewide to employers, employees, underserved and underrepresented communities, health care providers, and other community-based organizations.
- Secure physical space and hire on-the-ground operational staff prior to each phase going live.
Delivery of the Oregon PFMLI program will be the result of intensive collaboration between our PFMLI Advisory Committee, technology experts both inside and outside of the Oregon Employment Department, and policymakers. The newly formed PFMLI Division is responsible for project management, policy and rule development, collaboration with the Modernization Program as well as other Divisions within OED as we drive to implement technology solutions for contributions and benefits and ensure that employers and beneficiaries are aware of the full implementation of PFMLI for Oregonians.
The program implementation will use Scrum, an agile methodology for developing and delivering complex projects. Scrum is a framework that supports flexible prioritization and business decision-making, helping teams work together with a set of meetings, tools, and roles that help with structuring work and managing throughout. In addition to agile work methods, implementation work streams will also be guided by an integrated master schedule of work items that span the project lifecycle, enabling progress to be tracked against service delivery milestones. Key outcomes include:
- The PFMLI program is self-sustaining and collects all necessary funds for implementation and ongoing administration.
- The project and division establish an inclusive culture dedicated to continuous improvement.
- The project delivers exceptional services on time and within budget for Oregonians.
- The project reports successfully on all required components defined in ORS chapter 657B.
For the comprehensive release plan, click the image below.
|Form Advisory Committee||December 2019||Complete|
|Conduct third-party actuarial analysis of projected revenues/costs||February 2020||Complete|
|Hire initial policy staff||March 2020||Complete and Ongoing|
|Conduct five town hall meetings reaching over 2,500 Oregonians||November and December 2020||Complete|
|Reach decision about whether the State will administer PFMLI benefits||February 2021||Complete|
|Complete contract negotiations for communications and outreach||August 2021||Complete|
|Develop administrative rules, policies, and procedures||Rolling||In Progress|
|Business design, process mapping, and system requirements to support technology development for equivalent plans, contributions, benefits, and small business grants||July 2021 until implementation||In Progress|
|Technology development for equivalent plans, contributions, and small business grants in partnership with OED Modernization Program||July 2021 - September 2022||In Progress|
|Begin intensive outreach and public awareness campaign||September 2021||In Progress|
|Begin technology development for benefits||September 2022||Not Started|
|Begin reviewing equivalent plans||September 2022||Not Started|
|Just-in-time training of boots on the ground staff||Rolling||In Progress|
|Begin collecting contributions||January 2023||Not Started|
|Begin paying benefits and small business grants||September 2023||Not Started|
The statutory timelines were aggressive for creating an entirely new program when ORS chapter 657B was enacted. The intervening COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 wildfires required the agency to redirect many resources to help get UI claims processed and benefits paid in response to those emergencies, which has impacted the pace of PFMLI program development. The agency is now working with the Governor's Office and the Legislature to establish an achievable timeline to ensure that, when the program is launched, it will be able to support the needs of Oregon workers and employers.
Several key considerations will determine the time needed to implement the program successfully:
- Whether the agency decides to implement PFMLI benefits technology and associated business processes under the agency's Modernization Program, using the same technology that will support UI benefits functionality.
- Timing required to update Department of Revenue (DOR) systems and forms to implement PFMLI as part of the existing combined payroll reporting process.
- Time and resources needed for adequate policy development, outreach, and education prior to contributions becoming payable.
- Ability of the agency to repay the General Fund loan by the end of the 2021-23 biennium.
- Continued engagement and strong partnerships with our State Partners Team – including BOLI, DOR, DAS, DHS, DCBS, SOS, LFO, Treasury, OHA and The Governor's Office.
Based on these considerations, the agency has proposed adjusting the implementation timeline so that contributions would be collected beginning January 1, 2023 and benefits would be payable beginning September 3, 2023. This proposal requires legislative approval in order to take effect.
After benefits begin being paid, the agency anticipates the need for a substantial period of stabilization, refinement, and continual improvement of systems and policies to ensure that the intended benefits of the PFMLI program are fully realized.