As previously reported here at the Stoel Rives World of Employment, new federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations went into effect on January 16, 2009. Oregon has its own analog to FMLA, the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), with its own regulations. FMLA applies to employers with 50 or more employees, while OFLA applies to employers with with 25 or more employees; Oregon employers with 50 or more employees are required to follow both laws.
Historically, OFLA and its regulations have tracked federal law (with a few notable exceptions that are more generous to employees). However, following implementation of the new FMLA regulations, there is now a disconnect between the two laws. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) announced recently that even though there are new discrepencies between the two laws, it will not immediately update the OFLA regulations to match the new FMLA rules. (Click here to read BOLI’s press release on its decision.) Instead, BOLI will conduct informational hearings in February 2009 to determine whether updates to the OFLA regulations are warranted. In the meantime, BOLI issued this brief on implementing OFLA under the new FMLA rules, which provides an overview of the new differences between OFLA and FMLA and how employers can safely navigate the two laws.
Where does that leave Oregon employers that are covered by both OFLA and FMLA? The rule of thumb is to apply both sets of laws, and then follow the one most generous to employees. The Stoel Rives World of Employment will follow the hearings on the OFLA regulations and provide updates to let you know when and if there are any changes.