Oregon Bereavement Leave Laws

Beginning January 1, 2014, certain employees working in Oregon are entitled to take bereavement leave under Oregon’s Family Leave Act . According to the law, employers with 25 or more employees must allow qualifying employees to take bereavement leave due to the death of a family member. OR Statute 659A.150 to 186; OR Admin Rules 839-009-0210 to 0320 The details of Oregon’s bereavement leave requirements are as follows:

Covered employees

An employee is eligible to take bereavement leave under Oregon’s Family Leave Act if they have:

  • worked for the employer for 180 days or more, and
  • worked on average 25 or more hours per week for the 180 days prior to the date the bereavement leave is first taken.

OR Statute 659A.156

25 or more employees

An employer is considered to employ 25 or more employees if it employs at least 25 people:

  • for each working day during 20 or more calendar workweeks in the year the leave is taken, or
  • in the year immediately before the date the leave would begin.

OR Statute 659A.153(1)

Permitted uses

Bereavement leave for purpose of the Family Leave Act is defined as leave taken to deal with the death of a family member by:

  • attending the funeral or funeral-alternative;
  • making arrangements associated with the family member’s death; or
  • grieving.

OR Statute 659A.159

Family members

The term “family member” is defined to include:

  • a spouse
  • a same-gender domestic partner
  • a parent, including:
    • a custodial parent
    • a non-custodial parent
    • a biological parent
    • an adoptive parent
    • a foster parent
    • a parent-in-law
    • a parent of a same-gender domestic partner
    • a person with whom the employee was or is in a relationship of in loco parentis
  • a child, including
    • a biological child
    • an adopted child
    • a step child
    • a foster child
    • a child of a same-gender domestic partner
  • grandparent
  • grandchild

OR Statute 659A.150(4); OR Admin Rules 839-009-0210(2); OR Admin Rules 839-009-0210(7)

Amount of leave permitted

Oregon’s Family Leave Act permits employees to take up to a total of 12 weeks of leave in a one-year period for all covered purposes. This 12 week total includes any time taken for bereavement leave. OR Statute 659A.162

When taking bereavement leave, employees are allowed take up to 2 weeks of leave for each family member that dies and the bereavement leave taken must be completed within 60 days of the death of the family member. OR Statute 659A.162(2)(a); OR Statute 659A.159(2)(b) Additionally, when multiple family members dies at the same time, an employer may not require an employee to take bereavement leave for all deceased family members at the same time. OR Statute 659A.162(2)(c) Employees are entitled to take separately up to 2 weeks of leave for each deceased family member.

Paid vs. unpaid leave

Employers are not required to pay employees for bereavement leave. They may adopt policies providing for paid bereavement leave. OR Admin. Rules 839-009-0280(1) Additionally, employees are permitted to use leave accrued pursuant to any vacation, sick, personal, or other paid leave policy maintained by the employer when taking bereavement leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act. OR Admin. Rules 839-009-0280(2)

Employers may require employees taking bereavement leave to take paid leave accrued pursuant to any vacation, sick, personal, or other paid leave policy and may dictate the order in which such paid leave is to be used, if:

  • it provides the employee written notice prior to the absence that accrued paid leave will be used during the leave period, or
  • within five days after an employee has commenced leave that was unforeseeable, it provides the employee written notice of the requirement that accrued leave be used.

OR Admin. Rules 839-009-0280(3)

Notice requirements – Employees

Employees are not required to provide their employers notice before taking bereavement leave; however, employees must provide oral notice to their employer within 24 hours of beginning the leave. OR Statute 659A.165(2)(d) & (3) This notice may be provided by a person other than the absent employee. OR Statute 659A.165(3)

Additionally, an employer may require employees to provide written confirmation of the bereavement leave within three days after returning from the leave. OR Statute 659A.165(3)

Notice requirement – Employer

Employers are required to post a notice explaining the requirements of Oregon’s Family Leave Act, including its bereavement leave requirements, at every establishment where the employees are employed. OR Statute 659A.180

Multiple employees who are family members

Employer must permit employees who are family members to take concurrent bereavement leave. OR Statute 659A.162(4)(c)