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Oregon Lawmakers Sign Off On Delay To Paid Family Leave

Rachael McDonald

Oregon lawmakers have approved a bill that would delay the state’s new paid family and medical leave program.


Two years ago, the Legislature created a new program to ensure more workers would have paid time off to care for family members or themselves when they’re sick, or during other life events such as childbirth or adoption. The money will come from a fund that employers and employees pay into, with benefits supposedly available in January 2023.


The program will be run by the Oregon Employment Department. But the agency says it can’t meet the legislative timeline because it had its hands full over the past year dealing with a record number of unemployment claims due to the pandemic.


Sen. Kathleen Taylor, D-Portland, said at this point, it’s better to slow things down. 

"The most important thing moving forward is that the Employment Department has adequate time to set up the program in the right way,” she said. 

Under the bill, benefits would be delayed eight months until September 2023.


The measure passed the Senate on Thursday by a 21-7 margin, and it passed the House Friday on a 34-21 vote.


The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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