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The state plans to collect contributions and pay benefits in 2023 as it joins other states; federal action is iffy.

An advisory panel seeks public comments as it writes rules for how Oregon will offer paid family and medical leave, which is scheduled to start next year.

The Legislature approved the program in 2019. But last year, it extended the deadlines from Jan. 1, 2022, to Jan. 1, 2023, for the program to collect its first payroll taxes — workers will pay 60% and employers 40% of the fund — and from Jan. 1 to Sept. 3, 2023, for the first payments of benefits.

Oregon will join eight states and Washington, D.C., with similar programs.

Workers who earn at least $1,000 during the previous year would qualify for up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, the maximum benefit set at $1,215 per week.

"We remain on track and on budget," David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday, March 9.

Oregon's program is more generous than a proposal last year by President Joe Biden for a federal program, which would offer up to $4,000 per month. The U.S. House has passed a program that proposes four weeks of benefits, but it is part of a broader plan of social supports — known as Build Back Better — that has stalled in the Senate. It is highly uncertain whether a federal program will emerge.

Nine members will advise the Employment Department on rules required to carry out the law. Gerstenfeld says one rule will focus on workers who obtain benefits.

"Topics include how much money someone may receive in a benefit year, how people apply for paid-leave benefits, how we will verify whether someone is eligible, and if and how workers must give notice to their employers to use paid leave," he said.

"This is an opportunity to provide feedback on these rules. There will be more in the coming months."

The advisory committee has scheduled a second virtual meeting from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, March 17. It held a similar meeting March 10. Advance registration is required for participation: bit.ly/3w1Cdq2

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