Author: Stephanie L. Leffler, SPHR
The State of Oregon offers plenty of resources to get the word out about the PLO program. This plethora of information can be overwhelming. We hope the FAQ’s will help you determine your best options and ensure compliance with the program. Your company culture, budget, benefits of the assistance grants all factor into your choice about choosing the OPL or an equivalent plan.
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1. Q: My business employs remote employees from other states. Do I have to comply with PLO?
A: Yes! You need to comply with PLO and deduct taxes accordingly from the employee check.
2. Q: How much do employers pay?
A: It depends on your size. Small employers with 25 or less are not required to pay unless they opt into the program. Large employers pay 40% up to 1% of gross payroll with a cap of $132,900. Note that the State of Oregon may change contribution rates on an annual basis.
3. Q: What if I suspect an employee is abusing leave?
A: PLO is approved by the State of Oregon, Employment Department. Contact human resources to investigate before making a complaint with Oregon. A false complaint would cause catastrophic damage to the employer and employee relationship and could end up with the employee filing a lawsuit. If you are certain there is abuse, contact the OR Employment Department at 503-947-1394 or submit online.
4. Q: I have less than 25 employees and offer paid leave. Do I have to apply for an equivalent plan?
A: No, the only requirement is to deduct the 60% of up to 1% of the employee gross pay from their paycheck. Funds are to be kept in a separate account and paid quarterly through FRANCES.
5. Q: I plan to submit an equivalent plan. What information do I need to have?
A: Submit your application and pay the $250 fee no later than November 30, 2022. View the video about equivalent plans. Benefits must be equal to or greater than the equivalent plan. The review process takes at least 30-days. Employers may not impose any restrictions that exceed the OPL plan. For example, you may not say you must use up any paid leave before applying for the benefit.
6. Q: What are the two types of equivalent plans an employer may choose?
A: Employee administered plan. Employer assumes all the administrative and costs.
The second is a fully insured equivalent plan. Benefits are through an insurance policy. There are plans available. Contact your insurance broker for a quote. One benefit of an insurance policy is employers do not need to begin contributions until September 2023. Therefore, factor this into your cost analysis.
7. Q: How often do employers need to apply for an equivalent plan?
A: Employers have to apply for three consecutive years and pay the $250 fee each time before you no longer have to complete the application process.
8. Q: How is PLO different than other protected leave such as FMLA or OFLA?
A: The leave is paid, whereas the other leaves are not required to be paid but employees may use their PTO, sick or vacation time to cover absences.
9. Q: Are all employees eligible?
A: Employees must earn $1000 in the prior year and pay into the fund to be eligible to participate in the PLO program. Eligibility is not determined by how much an employee works or their status such as full-time, part-time, seasonal or temporary.
10. Q: What is the difference between unemployment insurance (UI) and Paid Leave Oregon?
A: UI is connected to usage rates and contribution amounts vary by entity. PLO has the same contribution rate for all employers. PLO does not offer a reimbursement option like there is for UI.