PORTLAND, Ore. — A new bill being considered by Oregon legislators could help workers with paid leave time if you work for a series of reasons.
House Bill 3087 is being referred to by some as the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. It is being heard by the House Committee on Early Childhood and Family Supports.
The idea of the bill is to give families the opportunity to take time off work to take care of a serious illness, have a new child or take care of a critically ill parent without the concerns of losing any financial support.
“You have the protection to keep your job already, but you don’t have the financial protection to keep your job,” said Nick Gammon of Portland.
Gammon said he had to go back to work after a week of being with his newborn child because of a financial hardship.
“A week with your infant is not ideal,” he said. “It would be nice to have a month at least.”
Everyone that is not self-employed will have to pay into the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act, according to the bill as it stands now.
Employees and employers will have to contribute up to half of one percent an employee’s wages. The program would be managed by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. Money would be collected by the Department of Revenue.
“Financially this works for us. We find that it has incredible dividends in terms of employee retention and loyalty,” said Amy Donohue.
Donohue and her company, Bora Architects, came up with a similar program. She said her staff can take leave without worrying.
“I think it is hard for people to come to work and concentrate and focus and be creative when they have a big personal issue in their life they cannot attend to and they are sort of forced to be here from a financial stand point,” she said.
Donohue believes the solution deals with crunching the numbers.
“We actually looked at the last 5 years of historical data in the firm to see who would have triggered anything under the Oregon Family Leave Act. And once we did all of the math, it looked like for a relatively small amount of money we would put in our annual budget every year that we can offer our entire staff 6 weeks of paid family leave at 60 percent of their salary for anything that qualified under the Oregon Family Leave Act,” she said.
Many Oregonians said it sounds good but they want more details.
The Oregon Business Association agrees. They released a statement that reads, "Oregon employers are hard at work driving record job growth here in Oregon as we comply with recent state legislation mandating paid sick leave and a new minimum wage - which is among the highest in America.
The current bill as drafted would affect every Oregon business, including rural mom and pops businesses, with 1 or 2 employees.
House Bill 3087 is expected to go to a work session in the house after a hearing.