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Leave without pay (LWOP) questions and answers

Using paid time off during a leave

Q: What if my employee is out on a leave without pay (LWOP) but is using sick leave or vacation a few hours a day?

A: That is considered a paid leave, even if it’s just a few hours of pay a day. Therefore, do not report them as on a leave. Report those few hours a day on a Detail 2 wage record as you normally would.


Q: What if my employee takes some paid leave followed by unpaid leave? Do I report the whole time as LWOP?

A: No. Report the unpaid days as a leave only if they equal at least 11 business days in a calendar month. The first day of the leave would be the first unpaid business day.


Q: What if my employee is only using a couple of hours of vacation pay a day? Is that considered a paid leave?

A: Yes. Any number of hours and wages, no matter how small, is considered a leave with pay. When your employee is not receiving any pay from the employer for 11 business days or more in a calendar month, that is when you report an unpaid leave.


Q: If my employee is using donated sick leave while out on Paid Leave Oregon, would I report the employee as out on leave?

A: No. Do not change their status and report their hours/wages the same as if the employee were using their own accrued sick leave. Learn more about using donated sick leave in the last section of employer reporting guide 11, Reporting a Leave .


Q: My employee is using four hours of sick leave a day to supplement the state-run Paid Leave Oregon program. How do I report that pay?

A: Report the four hours of sick leave a day as regular wages, subject salary, as you normally would. Do not report your employee as on a leave.


Q: Are we supposed to be reporting to PERS if an employee is on FMLA/OFLA and not being paid?

A: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) do not affect PERS. PERS is only concerned with whether an employee works the majority of a month, which determines whether they receive service credit for that month. Report their leave to PERS only if they are away for 11 business days or more in a calendar month and not receiving any pay from you, their employer. Report their leave by submitting a Detail 1 record with a 03 – On Family Leave status code.

Q: After reading guide 11, Reporting a Leave, I think I have reported an employee’s leave incorrectly. How do I fix it?

A: Submit a Demographic Correction Request (DCR) to PERS explaining the error. Include the date on which you submitted the original Detail 1 record. For instructions, see guide 20, Creating a DCR.


Nonstandard schedules (e.g., 24-hour days, weekends)

Q: So, you don’t report an employee on LWOP unless they are out for at least 11 business days in a month. What about employees who don’t work a standard M-F, 8-5 schedule? Such as firefighters and police whose workdays are 24-hours long and include weekends?

A: If you are an employer whose “working days” include all days, including weekends, you can provide PERS with your actual working-days records, or an official statement that clarifies your working days, so that PERS can use those records instead of PERS business days. Once you do so, if the employee’s workdays include weekends, then you should include all the employee’s unpaid working days when counting days of leave (including weekend days) to determine if the employee is on LWOP for at least 11 working days in a month. If they are, you should report the LWOP to PERS.

You can email your organization’s work schedule to your Employer Service Center representative. If you have any questions about reporting a leave for employees with a nonstandard schedule, contact your ESC representative.


Q: PERS considers a business day to be any day PERS is open for business. We don’t have the same schedule or holidays as PERS. Can we consider a business day to be any day on which our employees are expected to work?

A: Yes, you may consider a business day to be any day on which your employees are expected to work if you provide PERS with your actual working-days records or an official statement that clarifies your working days. PERS only uses business days if specific working days are not available.


Effect on benefits, PERS disability benefits

Q: If my employee takes an unpaid leave of 11+ business days in a calendar month but works the rest of the month, do they earn service credit for that month?

A: No. An employee does not earn service credit for a month in which they are reported as on a leave without pay for the majority of the month.


Q: What if my employee takes an unpaid medical leave and then is approved for PERS disability benefits? How does that affect their PERS benefits?

A: When a PERS member takes LWOP because of illness or injury, they can receive service credit for their LWOP if they are approved for PERS disability benefits. If your employee is approved for PERS disability benefits, you do not need to inform PERS; it’s already in our system.


Workers’ compensation and Paid Leave Oregon

Q: What about an employee who is receiving workers’ compensation?

A: When an employee is on LWOP and receiving workers’ compensation, send a DCR to inform PERS. They may be able to receive retirement credit for LWOP during which they receive workers’ compensation benefits under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) Chapter 656 so long as they return to employment with a participating public employer after the leave.


Q: If my employee is taking Paid Leave Oregon and receiving payments from a third-party insurer or the state, do I have to report those payments to PERS? I don’t know what the employee is being paid.

A: No. The only payments you need to report are those that come directly from the employer.