New Report Details – Paid Family, Medical, and Safe Leave Impacts in Oregon
The following is a summary of findings from our latest report. For more details, read the full report, or get the top takeaways from the report in the podcast.
Paid Leave Oregon will provide paid leave time for parents bonding with new children, serious health conditions experienced by workers or their families, or those needing safe leave. While the paid benefits are new as of September 3, 2023, the situations they cover have long existed in the workforce.
About 45,600 Oregon women ages 15 to 50 gave birth to children in the past 12 months. Seven out of 10 had also worked in the past 12 months; six out of 10 were still employed.
Some adults in the Western region of the U.S. who worked in the past week also had serious health conditions in life, such as cancer (7%). Conditions that require inpatient treatment, pose an imminent threat to life, or require ongoing treatments or care may qualify for paid leave.
In 2016 and 2017, 1.6 million women and 848,000 men in the U.S. had missed at least one day of work due to intimate partner violence or stalking.
Existing programs have not been equally accessible to all workers. Workers who were either younger, those with less educational attainment (regardless of age), and workers of Hispanic or Latino origin were less likely to have access to leave. Even with the existing patchwork of available leave options to workers, there is still some unmet need for leave time. In the average week in 2017 and 2018, 9.2% of all workers with existing, employer-provided paid leave time in the U.S. needed to take leave from work, but did not.
Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program began paying benefits in January 2020, and has some similar provisions to Paid Leave Oregon. Those include time to bond with a newly born or placed child in a family, and for workers’ own or their family members’ serious health conditions.
Washington’s first month of claims was the highest volume in the program’s first three years of operation at 24,600, or 0.93% of program-eligible workers.
Monthly claims averaged 17,700 per month in a more established program period.
Women, and workers in their thirties, made up notably larger shares of those approved for paid family and medical leave than their shares of all eligible workers in Washington.
On average, workers who took paid family and medical leave in 2022 did not use the full amount of eligible time away from work.
If Oregon’s experience is similar to Washington’s, the Paid Leave Oregon program could possibly expect between 14,000 and 21,000 claims for benefits in September 2023. Existing eligibility for parents’ bonding time with new children could potentially put September 2023 claim volume as high as 37,000. Monthly claims will likely stabilize at a lower level in an established Paid Leave Oregon program, potentially resulting in between 10,000 and 14,000 monthly claims. More details are available in the full report.
The full report can be found at https://www.qualityinfo.org/documents/20126/110743/Workforce+Impacts+of+Paid+Family%2C+Medical%2C+and+Safe+Leave+in+Oregon/
by Gail Krumenauer
Oregon State Employment Economist