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Governor Signs Paid Family Leave Bill

Oregon workers will get paid time off to care for loved ones or to welcome a new baby into the family. That’s because of a bill signed into law Friday by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

Advocates worked for years to get the bill through the legislature. In the end, it came down to a vote in the final hours of the session, with a handful of Republicans joining all of the Democrats to pass House Bill 2005.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown holds up HB2005 after signing it into law in Portland.
Credit @OregonGovBrown Twitter feed / Governor's office
Governor's office
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown holds up HB2005 after signing it into law in Portland.

"Nearly a decade of work has come to fruition," said Andrea Paluso, the executive director of Family Forward. "The effects of this new law will be long-lasting, and I hope this policy serves as a blueprint for passing a paid leave policy at the national level.”

The new law offers employees up to 12 weeks of paid leave to help a family member with an illness, or after the birth or adoption of a child. It also applies to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Federal and state law already guaranteed workers the right to take time off in those situations, but it did not require workers to be paid. Supporters of the bill said that forced many people to choose between a paycheck or caring for a sick relative or newborn.

The benefits are paid for through payroll deductions by both employers and employees. It takes full effect in 2023.

According to a legislative analysis, six other states and the District of Columbia already offer a paid family leave program. Those include Washington and California.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”