SALEM – Employees in Oregon started applying for benefits for Paid Leave Oregon Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in the new system Frances Online.
Paid Leave Oregon covers paid family leave, medical leave, and safe leave for working Oregonians. Benefits will start Sept. 3, but the program is accepting applications in the Frances system now to make sure there’s enough time to review initial claims. Benefit payments will begin to go out within two weeks of Sept. 3. Employees can apply through Frances Online for the following reasons:
- To care for themselves or members of their family during the birth of a child, or to bond with a child after birth, adoption, or placement of a child in their home through foster care
- To care for themselves during a serious health condition
- To care for a family member when they have a serious health condition
- If they or their child experience sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, or stalking
By starting the application process ahead of time, Oregon employees can take leave after Sept. 3, when the program benefits start. After sending in their application, employees should expect a two-week wait before they start to receive benefit payments. Employees must notify their employers 30 days in advance for planned paid leave. They cannot apply earlier than 30 days before the start date of their paid leave for benefits.
Paid Leave has more than 250 employees ready to help employees who may need help applying for the new program.
“Strong customer care principles are at the core of Paid Leave Oregon. We have multiple ways we can serve Oregonians, including our Contact Us form, email, and phones,” said Karen Madden Humelbaugh, director of the program. “Training our front-line staff to be prepared to help customers has been one of our top priorities.”
Agency and program leadership are looking closely at call wait times, numbers of applications, and other metrics. They’re ready to make any changes necessary to make sure Oregonians can use the program easily.
“With any new program of this size, along with a launch of a new modernized benefits portal, we know there will be bumps as we roll things out,” said Employment Department Director David Gerstenfeld. “We will be watching the data closely and making adjustments as quickly as possible as we identify issues.”
Signed into law in 2019, Oregon is one of 11 states (plus Washington D.C.) to offer a paid family and medical leave program. In January 2023, employers and employees started contributing to the trust fund that will pay for employee paid leave benefits.
Oregon’s unique program covers safe leave in addition to family and medical leave. Safe leave supports survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, harassment, or stalking so they can take time to seek safety.
Detailed information for employees, including eligibility requirements, tutorial videos, a benefits calculator, and much more, is on the Paid Leave website at paidleave.oregon.gov.
The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is an equal opportunity agency. Everyone has a right to use OED programs and services. OED provides free help. Some examples are sign language and spoken language interpreters, written materials in other languages, braille, large print, audio and other formats. If you need help, please call 971-673-6400. TTY users call 711. You can also ask for help at OED_Communications@employ.oregon.gov.