The Oregon Legislature finds that it is essential to provide support for the families of military personnel serving in military conflicts. The Oregon Military Family Leave Act (OMFLA) was enacted and became effective June 25, 2009. This Act will ensure these families are able to spend time together after being notified of an impending call or order to active duty and before deployment and during leave from deployment of a member of the military.
Q. Which employers have to follow the requirements of OMFLA?
A. In the private sector, an employer who employs 25 or more persons in Oregon for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding year must follow the OMFLA requirements. In the public sector, all state, county and local governmental units, regardless of the size of the workforce, must follow the OMFLA requirements as well.
Q. Which employees are eligible to use OMFLA leave?
A. An employee who (a) is a spouse or same-gender domestic partner of a member of the Armed Forces of the U.S., the National Guard, or the military reserve forces of the U.S.; and (b) has worked for the employer an average of 20 hours per week on the date OMFLA leave begins. (Please note that the law does not specify how many days or months the employee must have worked for the employer immediately preceding the leave.)
Q. May a covered employer require an eligible employee to provide documentation to substantiate the qualifying circumstances?
A. Yes, the employer may require in writing that the employee provide a photocopy of the military order to verify that the leave is for a qualifying event.
Q. Under what circumstances may an eligible employee use OMFLA leave?
A. The qualifying circumstances when an eligible employee may use OFMLA leave are during a period of military conflict when the military spouse or same-gender domestic partner of an eligible employee:
Has been notified of an impending call to active duty; or
Has been notified of an order to active duty; or
Has been deployed; or
Is on leave from deployment.
(Please note that if an employee's spouse serves in the Oregon National Guard and the Governor calls up the National Guard unit to fight forest fires, for example, the employee is not eligible to use OMFLA leave.)
Q. How much OMFLA leave does an eligible employee get?
A. An eligible employee gets up to 14 scheduled work days off as OMFLA leave. The 14 days entitlement is per deployment. The 14 days may be spent in any way the eligible employee sees fit, and the employer is not allowed to dictate how or for what purpose the time should be spent. The 14 days may be taken intermittently.
Q. Are the 14 days of OMFLA leave paid or unpaid?
A. OMFLA leave is unpaid unless the eligible employee's employer has a policy, an agreement with the employee, or a collective bargaining agreement that says it is a paid leave. On the other hand, an eligible employee while on OMFLA leave is entitled to use accrued paid sick leave, personal leave, vacation leave, or any other paid leave that is offered in lieu of vacation leave, such as PTO [paid time off].
For more detailed information, please contact the Technical Assistance for Employers Program by calling (971) 673-0824 or visit http://egov.oregon.gov/BOLI/.