Oregon bill zooms in on paid family leave

Employees and employers would each contribute up to half of 1% of an employee's wages

Lauren Smith of Bora Architecture in Portland, February 28, 2017 (KOIN)
Lauren Smith of Bora Architecture in Portland, February 28, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lauren Smith took time off for the birth of her first child. But unlike many, she got paid a portion of her full-time salary while she was at home caring for her newborn.

Lauren Smith of Bora Architecture in Portland, February 28, 2017 (KOIN)
Lauren Smith of Bora Architecture in Portland, February 28, 2017 (KOIN)

Oregon House Bill 3087 would make paid leave for the birth of a child or care of a sick relative the law of the land in Oregon. Employees and employers would each contribute up to half of 1% of an employee’s wages through a regular payroll deduction.

When an employee has a qualifying reason for leave they would receive partial wage replacement for their time away from work directly from the state insurance fund.

Lauren Smith, who works at Bora Architecture, thinks it’s a helping hand that everyone at one point or another could use. Bora initiated this plan on its own, and was able to eliminate a short term disability insurance policy.

“I think before I would have looked at that half-a-percent on my check and said, ‘Hey, what’s that going for?’ But now that I’ve gone through it I would absolutely go through it,” she told KOIN 6 News. “It pays for itself.”

House Bill 3087 was just introduced Friday.