The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) yesterday responded to the Oregon Employment Department’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (Paid Leave Oregon) Benefits – Batch 5.”
In its letter to Acting Director David Gerstenfeld, ERIC urges the Department to correct several specific issues within the proposed rules, including benefit calculation, job protection standards, and coordination of benefits, that are critical to ensuring the administration of Paid Leave Oregon does not harm employers or employees across the state.
“ERIC’s member companies provide a range of generous paid leave benefits, so the administration of Oregon’s state program must be clear, concise, and designed not to negatively impact the value or quality of benefits that employees are ultimately able to enjoy,” said James Gelfand, President of ERIC. “The proposed rules need to be revised to eliminate subjective compliance standards and facilitate the provision of more coordinated paid leave benefits for Oregonians. We therefore strongly urge the Department to follow our recommendations and set rules in place to safeguard and improve Paid Leave Oregon.
In the letter, ERIC recommends:
- The proposed definition of “eligible employee’s average weekly wage” should clarify wage calculation periods for seasonal and interim employees within a base year to avoid overlapping or reduced program benefits
- Employee job protection standards should be revised to avoid limiting the equivalent positions available to an employee returning from leave by using concrete terms and conditions of employment
- The Department should share benefit determination information with employers when a paid leave Oregon claim is filed to facilitate the coordination and administration of related employee benefits
ERIC’s recommended changes build upon previous comments submitted in 2021 to the Department aimed at reforming the equivalent employer benefit exemption process for the new state program. While regulatory development continues, ERIC is committed to shaping state policies that help employers provide impactful paid leave benefits to their workforces and will continue to work with state policymakers to improve Paid Leave Oregon.
To read the full comments submitted yesterday by ERIC, visit its website here.