Oregon Employment Division Posts First Draft of Proposed Paid Household Medical Go away Guidelines | Stoel Rives – World of Employment

As we’ve blogged before here, here, and here, Oregon lawmakers passed a Paid Family and Sick Leave (PFML) Bill in 2019 that gives Oregon employees up to 12 weeks of paid vacation for a specified purpose, payroll tax; Oregon employers with 25 or more employees are covered by the new program. Employer contributions will not start until 2022 and the benefits will not be available to employees until 2023. However, the Oregon Employment Department (“Department”) has begun developing administrative rules to govern the program. The department published its first draft regulations on an “informal” basis late last week. The department will carry out a “formal” rule-making process next year.

The draft regulation is mainly concerned with the definition of “wages” in order to determine both the employer and employee contribution to the PFML program. The draft rules address the following specific issues:

  • Dividends: Dividends paid to officers and shareholders are treated as wages insofar as they qualify as compensation for services rendered to the company.
  • Additional costs for employees: reimbursements for meals and travel expenses do not count as wages. However, the draft regulation advises employers to follow the Internal Revenue Service’s (“IRS”) rules on documenting expenses to justify excluding these amounts from wage calculations.
  • Pensions: Pension payments are not considered to be wages, and a person who receives a pension is not considered an employee.
  • Jury salary: Neither the jury salary nor the value of meals, accommodation or the like in connection with the jury count as wages.
  • Bonuses, Fees, and Prizes: These categories of compensation count as wages when they compensate an employee for services rendered.
  • Disability and Accident Compensation: Amounts that employers pay to employees during a disability or that exceed the amount of employee compensation paid to an employee under employee compensation insurance are generally considered to be wages. However, these are not lump sums or other compensation to employees for accidents at work.
  • Commissions: Commissions, including “guaranteed pay” (what we understand as payments made to employees as a drawing for future commissions) are wages.
  • Severance pay, vacation, vacation, and sick pay: all of these categories of compensation count as wages.
  • Gifts: Gifts are usually not included in the wage definition. Note that “tips or gratuities” are treated as wages, not gifts.
  • Non-cash compensation: The value of non-cash compensation given to employees (e.g. room and board) as payment for services is considered wages.
  • Cafeteria Plans: Employee benefits paid through cafeteria plans are usually not included in the definition of wages.

The draft rules can be publicly commented on on the department’s website until December 31st. However, the department has signaled that it will accept additional comments on the rules if it engages in the formal regulatory process.

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