Celebrating Innovation and Ingenuity: National Engineers Week

Every year, during the third week of February, the United States celebrates National Engineers Week, a time dedicated to honoring the contributions of engineers to society and inspiring future generations to pursue careers in engineering. From groundbreaking innovations to transformative technologies, engineers play a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today. Let’s delve into the history of National Engineers Week, explore lesser-known but significant achievements in the field over the past decade, and discuss practical ways organizations and co-workers can honor engineering employees.

History of National Engineers Week:

National Engineers Week, also known as EWeek, was first established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). It began as a way to increase public understanding and appreciation of the engineering profession while promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Since then, National Engineers Week has grown into a nationwide celebration, featuring various events, activities, and outreach programs aimed at showcasing the importance of engineering in our daily lives.

Notable Achievements in Engineering in the United States in the Last 10 Years:

1. Development of Soft Robotics: Soft robotics is an emerging field that focuses on creating robots with flexible and adaptable structures, inspired by biological systems. Engineers like Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio from Yale University have made significant contributions to this field, developing soft robotic devices capable of performing delicate tasks in medical, industrial, and environmental settings. These innovations have the potential to revolutionize industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and exploration.

2. Advancements in Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical engineers like Jordan Miller from Rice University have pioneered new techniques for 3D bioprinting, allowing the fabrication of living tissues and organs with unprecedented precision and complexity. This technology holds promise for regenerative medicine, drug discovery, and personalized healthcare, offering new solutions to complex medical challenges and improving patient outcomes.

3. Development of Energy Harvesting Technologies: Engineers like Cary Pint from Vanderbilt University have been instrumental in developing energy harvesting technologies that harness ambient sources of energy, such as vibrations, heat, and light, to power electronic devices. These innovations have the potential to reduce reliance on traditional power sources, improve energy efficiency, and enable the deployment of autonomous sensors and wearable devices in remote or resource-constrained environments.

Practical Ways to Honor Engineering Employees:

1. Recognition and Appreciation: Organizations can recognize the hard work and dedication of engineering employees through awards, ceremonies, or public acknowledgments. Highlighting their contributions to projects, innovations, or problem-solving can boost morale and foster a culture of appreciation within the workplace.

2. Professional Development Opportunities: Providing opportunities for continuous learning and skill development is crucial for engineering employees to stay updated with the latest technologies and advancements in their field. Organizations can offer training programs, workshops, or mentorship opportunities to support their professional growth and career advancement.

3. Community Engagement and Outreach: Encouraging engineering employees to participate in community outreach programs or mentorship initiatives can help inspire the next generation of engineers. By sharing their knowledge, expertise, and passion for engineering, employees can make a positive impact on their communities while fostering a sense of pride in their profession.

National Engineers Week serves as a reminder of the invaluable contributions of engineers to society and the importance of nurturing future talent in the field of engineering. By celebrating achievements, recognizing engineering employees, and promoting STEM education, we can inspire innovation, drive progress, and build a brighter future for generations to come. So, let’s take this opportunity to thank and honor the engineers who continue to shape the world with their creativity, ingenuity, and dedication.

International Women’s Day is March 8, 2024: Empowering and Recognizing Women in the Workplace

International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8th, serves as a global platform to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. It is a day to honor the progress made in gender equality and to reflect on the challenges that persist. In 2024, the focus is on women in the workplace, highlighting their triumphs, advocating for equal opportunities, and recognizing the advancements that have occurred over the past 30 years.

The roots of International Women’s Day trace back to the early 20th century when the labor movement and feminist activism gained momentum. The day became officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, but its origins can be linked to the struggles of women in the workforce, demanding better working conditions, equal pay, and the right to vote.

Empowering Women in the Workplace: 5 Modern Achievements

1. Breakthroughs in STEM Fields:
Over the last 30 years, women have made significant strides in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Breaking the gender barrier, women have excelled in traditionally male-dominated professions, contributing to groundbreaking discoveries and technological innovations. For instance, women like Dr. Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor of CRISPR gene-editing technology, and Dr. Katie Bouman, who played a pivotal role in capturing the first image of a black hole, have become influential figures in STEM.

2. Leadership in Corporate Boardrooms:
The push for gender diversity in corporate leadership has seen remarkable progress in recent decades. Women are now occupying executive roles and board seats in major companies, challenging the glass ceiling. Notable figures such as Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Ginni Rometty, former CEO of IBM, have shattered stereotypes and demonstrated that women can lead successfully in the corporate world.

3. Global Movements for Equality:
The #MeToo movement, initiated in 2006 but gaining global prominence around 2017, has empowered women to speak out against sexual harassment and discrimination in various industries. This movement has sparked conversations about workplace culture and led to increased awareness and accountability. Women are now more vocal about their rights, fostering an environment where perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.

4. Entrepreneurial Success:
The rise of female entrepreneurs has been a defining feature of the past few decades. Women have been breaking into traditionally male-dominated sectors, launching successful startups, and making significant economic contributions. Entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey, Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx), and Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post) have not only built successful businesses but have also become role models for aspiring women entrepreneurs worldwide.

5. Political Leadership and Representation:
In the political arena, women have achieved unprecedented success in the past 30 years. Several countries have witnessed the election of female heads of state, breaking the political glass ceiling. Examples include Angela Merkel, who served as the Chancellor of Germany for 16 years, and Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who has been praised for her leadership, especially during times of crisis.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day in 2024, it is crucial to recognize the progress made in empowering women in the workplace. The achievements of the past 30 years illustrate that barriers are being dismantled, and women are increasingly taking on influential roles across various fields. However, there is still work to be done to ensure true gender equality. By acknowledging the accomplishments of women and advocating for continued progress, we contribute to a more inclusive and equitable future for all.

Important Bulletin from the Oregon Employment Department

Important information about Unemployment Insurance Benefits launching in Frances Online

The Oregon Employment Department is launching Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits through Frances Online. The new UI benefits system is scheduled to go live through Frances Online on Monday, March 4.   

Here is what you need to know:

  • Frances Online will not be available during the migration.
    The Frances Online website will be unavailable from 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28, to 8 a.m. on Monday, March 4.
  • Customer service by phone or email will not be available.
    Phone lines for UI, Paid Leave Oregon, and employer contributions will be unavailable from 8 a.m. on Wednesday, February 28, to 8 a.m. on Monday, March 4.

Here is what you can do:   

  • Finish any outstanding tasks you need to do in your Frances Online account before it goes offline at 5 p.m. on February 28. You will not have access to any account information in Frances Online from 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 28, until 8 a.m. Monday, March 4.
  • Note that our staff will not be answering phone calls or emails starting at 8 a.m. from Wednesday, February 28, until 8 a.m. Monday, March 4.
  • To reduce processing delays during this time frame, please respond to all requests for information promptly.

We understand this may cause an inconvenience. We are doing everything we can to make this process as easy as possible. We encourage you to review all correspondence from the Oregon Employment Department in the coming weeks.

Visit the Employer page of the OED website and follow us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn) for important updates about the migration. 
Thank you for your patience.  

Soup-er Bowl: Celebrating National Homemade Soup Day!

Greetings, soup enthusiasts and culinary daredevils! It’s that time of the year again when the heavens open up, and angels sing praises to the magical elixir that warms our souls and bellies – it’s National Homemade Soup Day on February 4th! So, grab your ladles, dust off your grandma’s secret spice rack, and let’s dive headfirst into the bubbling cauldron of comfort that is homemade soup.

As National Homemade Soup Day approaches, why not turn your kitchen into a battlefield of broths and bisques by organizing the Soup-er Bowl Showdown? It’s time to don your soup-strategist hat and ladle your way to glory. Here’s a step-by-step guide to orchestrating the most epic soup contest your neighborhood has ever seen.

Step 1: Rally the Troops

Begin by spreading the word. Create eye-catching posters, digital invitations, or even send out carrier pigeons if you’re feeling whimsical. Invite friends, family, neighbors, and anyone with a passion for slurping sensational soups. The more, the merrier!

Step 2: Choose a Location

Decide whether you want to host the contest at home, a local community center, or even a park if the weather permits. Make sure the venue has sufficient kitchen facilities and space for participants and spectators alike. A well-equipped kitchen is a soup chef’s playground.

Step 3: Set the Date and Time

Coordinate with potential participants to find a date and time that works for everyone. National Homemade Soup Day falls on February 4th, but feel free to extend the celebration throughout the weekend to accommodate busy schedules.

Step 4: Establish Categories

Diversify the competition by creating categories like “Most Creative Soup,” “Spiciest Soup,” or “Classic Comfort Soup.” This encourages participants to unleash their culinary creativity.

Step 5: Create Entry Guidelines

Clearly outline the rules for entering the Soup-er Bowl Showdown. Include details such as recipe submission deadlines, ingredients restrictions (if any), and any presentation requirements. Embrace the creativity but maintain a level playing field.

Step 6: Assemble an Expert Panel

Recruit judges with discerning taste buds to crown the soup champions. Consider including local chefs, food bloggers, or even willing neighbors who appreciate a good bowl of soup. Ensure the judging criteria are fair and communicated to all participants.

Step 7: Soup Sampling for Spectators

Don’t forget the spectators! Allow them to purchase tasting tickets, and set up sampling stations where they can savor the soups on display. This adds an interactive element and turns your contest into a community event.

Step 8: Prizes Galore

Secure prizes for the winners. We’ve already suggested Golden Ladle Trophies, Soup-er Chef Aprons, Personalized Soup Spoons, Soup Pot Upgrades, and even a Soup-themed Weekend Getaway. Make sure the prizes are as enticing as the soups themselves.

Step 9: Promote, Promote, Promote!

Spread the soup love far and wide. Leverage social media, local newspapers, and community bulletin boards to promote the Soup-er Bowl Showdown. The more buzz you create, the bigger the turnout.

Step 10: Capture the Soupy Spectacle

Document the event with photos and videos. Share the joy, laughter, and steaming soups on social media platforms using the event hashtag. This not only captures memories but also ensures that the Soup-er Bowl Showdown becomes a yearly tradition.

Winter is a time when we all transform into cozy beings, wrapped in layers like delicious soup dumplings. And what better way to celebrate this transformation than by indulging in the symphony of flavors and warmth that a homemade soup provides? It’s like a hug from the inside – a liquid blanket for your taste buds.

Our Top Picks: Soups that Will Make You Slurp with Joy

1. Baked Potato Soup: A Spud-tacular Adventure


4 large russet potatoes (because why settle for small when you can go big?)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (the cheesier, the better)
1/2 cup sour cream (for that tangy twist)
1/4 cup bacon bits (because everything’s better with bacon)
4 green onions, chopped (for a touch of sophistication)
Salt and pepper to taste (because seasoning is an art)

Bake those potatoes until they’re softer than a puppy’s snuggle.
Scoop out the potato insides like you’re on a treasure hunt for creamy gold.
Mash them taters with all the love in your heart.
Mix in the cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and green onions. Stir like nobody’s watching.
Season to taste and let it simmer until your kitchen smells like a potato paradise.
Serve with a dollop of extra sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar on top. Voila! You’ve just made winter edible.

2. Chicken Tortilla Soup: A Fiesta in Your Mouth


1 lb chicken breasts (because poultry is the unsung hero of soups)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (because beans are the musical notes in this symphony)
1 cup corn kernels (because corn is the life of the party)
1 cup diced tomatoes (for that juicy burst)
1 jalapeño, minced (spice up your life)
1 onion, chopped (because an onion a day keeps blandness away)
3 cloves garlic, minced (to keep vampires and winter blues at bay)
1 teaspoon cumin (because life is bland without it)
1 teaspoon chili powder (for that smoky dance)
Salt and pepper to taste (because seasoning is still an art)

Cook the chicken breasts until they’re no longer clucking.
Shred the chicken like it just spilled the hottest gossip in the coop.
In a pot, sauté the onion, garlic, and jalapeño until your kitchen smells like a fiesta.
Add in the shredded chicken, black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Stir like you’re salsa dancing.
Sprinkle in the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Let the flavors dance together.
Simmer until you can’t resist the tantalizing aroma any longer.
Serve with tortilla chips and a sprinkle of cheese. Ole! You’ve just made winter a spicy celebration.

So, dear readers, grab your pots, pans, and a dash of creativity. Let’s turn National Homemade Soup Day into a slurping spectacular that leaves us all feeling warm, fuzzy, and a little bit like soup royalty. May your ladles be mighty and your soups even mightier!

Important Washington Wage Change Information

Employers in Washington or with workers in Washington need to take note of some important updates regarding employee wages. Here’s a breakdown of key information:

1. Overtime Exemptions: To be exempt from overtime laws, Washington workers need to earn at least $67,724.80 per year or $1,302.40 per week. This amount is part of a phased implementation, with future thresholds based on the Consumer Price Index. Employers should remember that meeting the salary requirement is just one part of the exemption test; employees must also be paid on a salary basis and meet specific duties criteria. All parts of the test must be met for exemption.

2. Outside Employment Restrictions: In general, employers cannot restrict employees from having outside employment or being self-employed unless they are paid at least $32.56 per hour.

3. Non-compete Thresholds: Employees earning $120,559.99 or more may be subject to non-competition agreements, while independent contractors have a higher threshold at $301,399.98.

4. Dairy & Agricultural Workers: These workers are eligible for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Previously, the policy required agricultural workers to exceed 48 hours for overtime eligibility. The overtime pay rate must be at least 1.5 times the regular rate of pay.

5. Minimum Wages for 2024:
– Washington State: $16.28 per hour
– Seattle: $17.25 to $19.97 per hour (with variations for small business employers)
– SeaTac: $19.71 per hour (Hospitality and Transportation Industry)
– Tukwila: Large employers: $20.29 per hour; Mid-size employers: $18.29 per hour (effective 7/1/2024)

If you have additional questions about this information or any other human resource topic, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Launching into Laughter: National Fruitcake Toss Day Extravaganza!

A celebration that will have you laughing, tossing, and embracing the delightful absurdity of life – National Fruitcake Toss Day! Every January 3rd, fearless fruitcake enthusiasts from around the world come together to partake in a hilarious tradition that involves catapulting these notorious holiday treats into the wild blue yonder. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with that unwanted fruitcake that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry since the dawn of time, wonder no more! Strap on your safety goggles, flex those throwing muscles, and join us as we dive headfirst into the wacky world of fruitcake tossing.

The History of National Fruitcake Toss Day:
The origins of this whimsical holiday are as mysterious as the elusive perfect fruitcake recipe. Legend has it that a group of friends, tired of receiving the same fruitcakes year after year, decided to turn their holiday burden into a source of laughter. Thus, National Fruitcake Toss Day was born! Over the years, the event has grown into a lighthearted celebration of camaraderie, humor, and the timeless art of tossing fruitcakes.

Organizing Your Fruitcake Toss Extravaganza:
Now, you may be wondering, “How do I get in on the fruit-flinging action?” Fear not, intrepid reader, for organizing your very own Fruitcake Toss Day event is easier than you think! Here’s a step-by-step guide to launching your celebration into the stratosphere:

1.Gather Your Supplies:

  • Fruitcakes (the denser, the better!)
  • Safety goggles and protective gear
  • A designated tossing area (preferably outdoors)
  • Measuring tape for distance records
  • Laughter and a sense of humor

2. Invite Fellow Tossers:
Spread the word far and wide! Invite friends, family, neighbors, and even that quirky colleague who has a penchant for peculiar pastimes. The more, the merrier!

3. Set the Tossing Rules:
Establish ground rules to keep the event safe and entertaining. Consider categories like “Longest Toss,” “Most Creative Toss,” and “Precision Toss.” Don’t forget to award prizes for the winners!

4. Create a Festive Atmosphere:
Amp up the fun with decorations, music, and festive attire. Encourage participants to dress in their most outlandish fruitcake-themed costumes.

5. Capture the Moments:
Designate a photographer or set up a DIY photo booth to capture the laughter, joy, and absurdity of the day. Share the memories on social media to inspire others to embrace the fruitcake-tossing madness.

The Benefits of Fruitcake Tossing:
Besides the sheer joy of watching fruitcakes soar through the air, this quirky tradition offers some surprising benefits:

  • Stress Relief: Unleash your frustrations and worries with each toss.
  • Community Bonding: Forge connections with others who share your appreciation for humor and whimsy.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Give those ancient fruitcakes a purpose beyond taking up space in your pantry.

So, there you have it – the recipe for a perfect National Fruitcake Toss Day celebration. Embrace the absurdity, let laughter reign supreme, and revel in the joy of flinging fruitcakes with abandon. Who knew that these holiday doorstops could bring so much merriment? This January 3rd, grab your fruitcake, rally your friends, and join the ranks of tossers who refuse to take life too seriously. Happy tossing!

Fostering Growth and Empowerment: National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month, celebrated annually in January, is a dedicated time to recognize the transformative power of mentorship and its positive impact on individuals and communities. Established in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, this initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring and encourage individuals and organizations to get involved in supporting the next generation.

The Origin of National Mentoring Month:

The roots of National Mentoring Month can be traced back to the efforts of organizations and individuals committed to addressing the needs of young people facing challenges. Harvard School of Public Health, along with MENTOR, recognized the potential of mentoring to contribute to the personal and professional development of young minds. This led to the creation of National Mentoring Month as a platform to mobilize individuals and organizations in fostering meaningful connections.

Objectives of National Mentoring Month:

1. Raise Awareness: One of the primary goals of National Mentoring Month is to increase public awareness about the positive effects of mentoring on youth development. By highlighting success stories and the benefits of mentorship, the campaign seeks to inspire more individuals and organizations to become involved.

2. Recruit Mentors: National Mentoring Month serves as a call to action, encouraging individuals from all walks of life to consider becoming mentors. Whether in schools, community organizations, or workplaces, there are countless opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life through mentorship.

3. Promote Mentoring Programs: The month-long celebration also emphasizes the importance of structured mentoring programs. Organizations are encouraged to establish or expand mentoring initiatives that provide guidance, support, and encouragement to those in need.

Setting Up a Mentoring Program:

For organizations looking to establish a mentoring program, here are key steps to consider:

1. Identify Objectives and Goals: Clearly define the objectives and goals of the mentoring program. Determine the specific needs of the mentees and how mentorship can address those needs.

2. Create a Framework: Develop a structured framework for the mentoring program, including guidelines for mentor-mentee interactions, frequency of meetings, and the expected duration of the mentorship.

3. Recruit Mentors: Identify potential mentors within the organization or community. Look for individuals with relevant experience, a passion for helping others, and strong interpersonal skills.

4. Training and Support: Provide training for both mentors and mentees to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities. Ongoing support and resources should be available to address any challenges that may arise.

5. Matchmaking: Thoughtfully match mentors and mentees based on compatibility, shared interests, and specific needs. This process contributes to the success of the mentorship by fostering a positive and productive relationship.

6. Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess the effectiveness of the mentoring program through feedback and performance metrics. Use this information to make adjustments and improvements as needed.

National Mentoring Month serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that mentorship can have on individuals and society as a whole. By establishing and supporting mentoring programs, organizations can contribute to the growth, empowerment, and success of the next generation. As we celebrate National Mentoring Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others through the invaluable gift of mentorship.

A Fresh Start for the Team: Acknowledging Employee Contributions on New Year’s Day

As we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new, New Year’s Day marks a time for reflection, resolutions, and a fresh start. While many individuals focus on personal goals, it’s equally important for organizations to take a moment to celebrate the efforts of their employees. Below we highlight five examples that play a crucial role in fostering a positive work environment.

Consistent Team Collaboration:
In the fast-paced world of business, it’s easy to overlook the everyday teamwork that keeps the wheels turning. Acknowledge those team members who consistently collaborate with their colleagues, share ideas, and contribute to a positive and inclusive work culture. Recognizing the value of teamwork can go a long way in boosting morale and promoting a sense of unity within the organization.

Innovative Problem-Solving:
Innovation is the lifeblood of any successful business, and employees who consistently offer creative solutions to challenges should be celebrated. These individuals may not always be in the spotlight, but their ability to think outside the box and find novel approaches to problems can significantly impact the organization’s success.

Mentorship and Knowledge Sharing:
Employees who go above and beyond to mentor their colleagues or willingly share their knowledge contribute to the growth and development of the entire team. Recognize those who invest time in helping others learn and grow, as their efforts not only benefit individual team members but also contribute to the overall knowledge base of the organization.

Positive Workplace Culture Contributions:
Creating a positive workplace culture is vital for employee satisfaction and productivity. Employees who actively contribute to this culture, whether through organizing team-building activities, promoting a healthy work-life balance, or fostering inclusivity, play a crucial role in shaping a positive and motivating environment. Acknowledging these efforts reinforces the importance of a supportive workplace culture.

Adaptability and Resilience:
In today’s rapidly changing business landscape, adaptability is a key trait. Employees who demonstrate resilience in the face of challenges, adapt to new technologies, and embrace change should be recognized for their contributions. Their ability to navigate uncertainties and stay focused on the organization’s goals is invaluable.

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, take a moment to not only set personal resolutions but also to appreciate the collective efforts of your team. Recognizing and celebrating the often overlooked contributions of employees can strengthen the bond within the organization, inspire continued dedication, and set the stage for a successful and collaborative year ahead. A fresh start for the team begins with acknowledging and valuing the diverse contributions that make the workplace a dynamic and thriving community.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Now in Effect

Effective June 27, 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the employer can demonstrate that providing an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations. Several state laws already provide similar protections and now federal law ensures similar protections in all states.

Generally, to qualify for protection under the PWFA, an employee or applicant must be able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. However, an employee or applicant will still qualify under the PWFA if: (1) any inability to perform an essential function is for a temporary period; (2) the essential function could be performed in the near future; and (3) the inability to perform the essential function can be reasonably accommodated.

More specifically, the PWFA makes it an unlawful employment practice for employers to:

  • Fail to provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified employee’s known limitation related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition (unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business operations);
  • Require a qualified employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion about the accommodation between the employee and the employer (i.e., without engaging in the interactive process);
  • Deny a job or other employment opportunity to a qualified employee or applicant based on the individual’s need for a reasonable accommodation;
  • Require a qualified employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would let the employee keep working;
  • Retaliate against a qualified employee or applicant for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or
  • Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.

This law is regulated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and has a website dedicated to information and guidance about PWFA. Employers should also review their handbooks and related policies, as well as train supervisors, managers, and other responsible staff about how to handle PWFA.

Paid Leave Oregon Update

On September 3, 2023, the window for Paid Leave Oregon insurance claims is scheduled to open. The Oregon Employment Department continues to work diligently to provide guidance and information for employers and employees to consider.  Earlier this week an update was provided by the Oregon Employment Department. The highlights are below.

Benefit Amounts for July 2023- June 2024

Each year the Oregon Employment Department has responsibility to review the minimum and maximum weekly benefits amounts. These calculations are based on Oregon’s State Average Weekly Wage and are effective from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. The State Average Weekly Wage increased from $1,224.82 to $1,269.69. For Paid Leave Oregon, the minimum weekly benefit amount is 5% of the State Average Weekly Wage, and the maximum is 120%. This translates to a new minimum weekly benefit amount of $63.48 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,523.63. For additional information about the calculation of an employee’s benefit please review the Employee Guidebook (pages 12-16).

Employee Guidebook

Oregon Employment Department has provided a guide to the important insurance coverage for employees. As with any new program there is a substantial number of questions, and this guide provides answers to those things employees need to know.

The topics covered in the guidebook are:

  • About this guide
  • About Paid Leave Oregon
  • Covered employees
  • Employer obligations
  • Equivalent plans
  • Covered types of leave
  • Paid Leave Oregon Benefits (leave amount, length of leave, benefits amount, job protection, difference from other leaves)
  • Benefit application
  • Receiving benefits
  • Paying taxes on benefits
  • Working while on leave
  • How to change your information
  • Your rights (appeal and complaints)
  • Contact information

We believe it is important for employers to read the information being shared as you are likely the first place employees will go for answers. This guide also directs employees to their employer for certain information that will be needed to file a claim, including the employee’s date of hire and usual work schedule per week.

Also, don’t forget your organization needs an internal policy to support the availability, use, and notification requirements of this employee benefit. We have developed a Policy Pack with background, policy sample, form sample, and other considerations. Find it here.

Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA changes)

In our alert on June 16, 2023, we shared information about changes to the benefit year which would allow better alignment between PLO and OFLA. There was as error in the date. Effective immediately, organizations (after providing a 60-day notice) can change the benefit year to meet the PLO language (the 52 weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the leave) or it can be maintained as currently identified in your policies. However, by July 1, 2024, all organizations must change their benefit year to align with PLO. We apologize for the error.

We have updated our Paid Leave Oregon Policy Pack on our website. If you previously purchased the Policy Pack (or downloaded it as an Advantage Plan client), you should have received a separate email from us earlier today with the updated Policy Pack attached.