On its April 4, 2019 meeting, the Executive Council considered a bill from our Legislative Committee and took the following position:
Relating to family leave.
Establishes Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave Board in Department of Consumer and Business Services. Directs board to develop plan to provide family and medical leave insurance benefits to covered individuals. Requires plan to be financed by employee contributions through payroll deductions at rate determined by board. Requires employers to collect and remit to fund contributions by employees of employer regardless of size of employer. Permits employer to apply for board approval of employer‐offered plan to satisfy requirement. Requires Director of Department of Business and Consumer Services to establish system for enforcement and appeal of contested cases involving family and medical leave insurance benefit claims. Requires board to establish plan so that employees can begin contributing to plan no later than January 1, 2021. Requires board to adopt rules for plan and to report annually to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to business and workforce. Requires certain state agencies to collaborate to provide outreach, technical assistance or compliance services to board. Establishes Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund as trust fund to be used only for specific purposes. Requires moneys collected as contributions to plan from eligible employees to be deposited in fund. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to department to be used for carrying out duties of board and paying family and medical leave insurance benefits to eligible employees. Declares emergency, effective on passage.
Rationale: HB3385 establishes a Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund that is funded solely by employee contributions, with no required employer contributions. This offers a much worse alternative to employer‐employee match funded (HB3031) or employer only funded (SB947) versions of paid family leave, which we have endorsed. It may also have the effect of changing current structures that universities have in place to offer piecemeal paid leave options to faculty without replacing these with an obviously better alternative. Because of the reduced funding available for this leave insurance fund, we might anticipate a lower replacement wage for workers, meaning that low wage workers would not be able to access the benefit because of an inability to live on a reduced wage. This could result in a situation where low wage workers are paying into a benefit that they cannot realistically access.