We’re a short seven months from September 3, 2023, when employees can start submitting claims for Paid Leave Oregon benefits. Between now and then, there are plenty of actions employers should take to prepare. If you need a bit of a refresher on the program, check out our previous blog post here.
As of January 1, 2023, employers should have begun withholding employee contributions for Paid Leave Oregon. The contribution rate for 2023 is 1% of employee gross wages up to $132,900 in wages, split between employee and employer contributions.
For larger employers with 25 or more employees, employers must cover at least 40% of the contribution rate (an employer can choose to cover the entire contribution or a portion larger than 40%), while employees contribute the balance. Employers with approved equivalent plans and smaller employers (fewer than 25 employees) are exempt from employer contributions.
Quarterly Payments & Reporting
All covered employers are required to submit the total contributions (employer and employee portions) quarterly to the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR). In addition, employers must report the total number of employees and wages paid for the quarter via Frances Online, the OED’s employer e-services portal.
Employers who have not yet registered with Frances Online should do so as soon as possible. Quarterly reports are due on or before the last day of the month following the end of the quarter, with the first report due April 30, 2023.
Employers who do not file their reports or submit contributions timely may be subject to a penalty. For more information on contributions, reporting, and other employer requirements, visit Paid Leave Oregon—What employers need to do.
Equivalent (Private) Plan Information
Employers have the option of applying for an equivalent plan instead of using the state administered plan. There are a few options for employers considering an equivalent plan:
- Employer-Administered—With this type of equivalent plan, the employer assumes all financial and administrative responsibilities for the plan, including processing claims and paying employee benefits. Employees apply for benefits directly through their employer. Employers contemplating self-administration of an equivalent plan should consider several factors, including:
- Staffing: Whether the employer’s staff has the appropriate expertise to process claims, support employees with claims issues, and work with the state on reporting requirements.
- Resources: If an employer doesn’t currently have appropriate staff in place, is there budget and space available to hire a team?
- Risk Comfort Level: With a self-administered plan, an employer takes on more risk than employers that use the state plan. Employers who administer a plan incorrectly may be subject to fines and/or penalties.
- Contributions: Employers must determine whether they want employees to contribute to the funding of the plan, keeping in mind that an equivalent plan cannot require an employee to contribute more than they would to the state plan.
- Benefits: An equivalent plan can be a good option for an employer who wants to offer their employees a higher level of benefits than the state plan provides.
- Third-Party Administered—With this type of equivalent plan, the employer assumes all financial responsibilities for the plan, but a third-party vendor, such as ReedGroup, handles claim administration. Employers might consider a third-party-administered plan if they want to offer an equivalent plan but don’t have the resources in place to self-administer.
- Fully Insured—Employers who choose a full-insured equivalent plan purchase an insurance policy from a carrier approved to sell Paid Leave Oregon policies. With this option, the insurance carrier typically administers the policy on behalf of the employer, who pays premiums to the insurer to cover employee benefits as well as administrative costs.
Employers can apply for an equivalent plan via Frances Online or by downloading an application from the Paid Leave Oregon website and submitting it by mail. Additional information can be found in our previous blog post, here. Upcoming equivalent plan submission deadlines are as follows:
- To be exempt from paying contributions starting 4/1/2023: 2/28/2023
- To be exempt from paying contributions starting 7/1/2023: 5/31/2023
Employer Notice Requirements
Effective 1/1/2023, employers with one or more Oregon employee(s) are required to post a notice/poster informing employees about Paid Leave Oregon benefits and employee rights and responsibilities. The poster must be conspicuously displayed in each workplace and must be provided in the language(s) generally used to communicate with employees. The notice must be hand delivered, mailed, or provided electronically to remote employees.
Oregon has published a model notice for employers who are using the state plan, as well as a separate model notice for employers with approved equivalent plans.
The Paid Leave Oregon website offers a plethora of resources to help both employers and employees navigate the program, including:
- Model notice posters in 12 languages
- Fact sheets
- Guidebooks, including an Employer Guidebook and an Equivalent Plan Guidebook
- Equivalent Plan and Self Employed Checklists
- Equivalent Plan Application
- Administrative rules for Paid Leave Oregon
What ReedGroup Is Doing
ReedGroup continues to offer compliant state FML and PFML solutions and is currently updating our software and processes to include Paid Leave Oregon. ReedGroup supports a variety of plan administration options, including coordination of benefits/offsetting, tracking plans, and claims administration of equivalent plans.
If you’re looking for assistance managing claims or to ensure compliance across your organization, ReedGroup has solutions for you. Check out our offerings here.
Information provided on this blog is intended for general educational use. It is not intended to provide legal advice. ReedGroup does not provide legal services. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this or any other topic.