RSV Emergency Declaration Triggers Protections Under Oregon’s Mini-FMLA

Oregon’s governor declared a public health emergency November 14, 2022, in response to an increase in pediatric cases of RSV. The declaration will remain in effect through March 6, 2023, unless it is extended or terminated earlier by the governor. In January 2022, changes to Oregon’s Family Leave Act (OFLA) went into effect that defined a public health emergency and expanded sick child leave. The amendments clarified that a “public health emergency” requires a proclamation by the governor to protect public health. Sick child leave, under OFLA, is leave requiring home care (such that you might see with RSV, cold, flu, etc.), but that does meet the definition of a serious health condition. The amendments expanded “sick child leave” to include the need to provide home care due to the closure of the child’s school or childcare provider due to a public health emergency and includes requirements for verification of a school closure. The amendments also changed the OFLA so that Oregon employers must provide sick child leave to eligible Oregon employees after just 30 days of employment, rather than 180, if the employee has worked an average of 25 hours per work in the 30 days before taking leave during a public health emergency.