OFLA Soon To Cover Bereavement Leave

June, 2013

Effective January 1, 2014 the Oregon Family Leave Act will expand to cover leave for the death of an employee’s family member. Specifically, the law will allow eligible employees up to two weeks of leave to deal with the death of a family member for: attending the funeral or alternative to a funeral of the family member, making arrangements necessitated by the death of the family member, or grieving the death of the family member.

A few important details:

  • Eligible employees are allowed up to two weeks of leave within a twelve month period per death of a covered family member.

  • Leave must be taken within 60 days of the date the employee receives notice of the death of the family member.

  • Leave must be allowed to begin prior to formal notice to the employer, but the employee must at least provide verbal notice of the need for leave within 24 hours of commencing the leave. The employee must also provide written notice and explanation of the need for leave within three days of returning to work.

  • If an employee has multiple family member deaths, employers may not require the employee to take leave concurrently for each family member. Employees with the death of the same family member must be allowed to take leave concurrently.

  • Leave for the death of a family member is credited against the employee's 12 weeks of leave under OFLA and is not an additional two weeks of time per death.

What hasn’t changed?

  • The amended law still only applies to employers with 25 or more employees in Oregon and employees who have worked for a covered employer for at least 180 days and averaged 25 hours per week in the 180 days preceding the leave.

  • The definition of a covered family member has not changed and still covers the employee’s spouse, parent, parent-in-law, child, grandparent, grandchild, same sex domestic partner and an individual standing in loco parentis.

What should you be doing?

  • Review and update your family leave policies and applicable paperwork in order to have a smooth transition on January 1, 2014.

  • Educate your supervisors and managers about this new reason for leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act. After all, they will probably be the first person to speak with the employee in need.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us.


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