In addition to the leave provided by your employer’s policies on vacation, sick days, personal days, or paid time off (PTO), you may have a legal right to take time off work for specific reasons under federal and Oregon laws. For example, if you are caring for an ailing family member or recovering from childbirth, you may have a right to leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Oregon law gives you additional leave rights, including the right to military family leave, paid sick leave, and domestic violence leave. This article provides an overview of your right to time off from work in Oregon. For more information, see our page on employee leave rights.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to care for a seriously ill family member (spouse, parent, or child), to recuperate from their own serious health conditions, to bond with a new child, or to handle certain practical matters arising from a family member’s military service. The FMLA also requires employers to give employees up to 26 weeks off to care for a family member who has suffered or exacerbated a serious illness or injury while serving in the military. (For purposes of this military family leave provision only, employees may take leave to care for a broader range of family members, including siblings, grandparents, and cousins, if they are next of kin to an injured service member.)
The FMLA applies to employers in all states with at least 50 employees. Employees are eligible only if they have worked for the employer for 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months before taking leave. (Learn much more about your rights under the FMLA at our Taking Family and Medical Leave page.)
Oregon has its own family and medical leave law, which applies to smaller employers. Employees in Oregon are also entitled to military family leave, domestic violence leave, and paid sick days.
Another federal law, the Unformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) gives eligible employees the right to be reinstated to their jobs after taking up to five years off for service in the U.S. military. Employees may be fired only for good cause for a period of up to one year after they return from service. Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their military service. (Find out all about USERRA in Taking Military Leave.)
The laws of many states extend similar rights to employees who serve in the state’s military (such as the militia) or are called to state active duty. In Oregon, employees who are called to state active duty in the Oregon organized militia or the militia of any other state must be allowed to take time off, with reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position and with no loss of seniority or benefits.
Oregon law also gives employees the right to take time off work, without fear of retaliation, for the civic responsibility of serving on a jury. Employers must allow employees to take time off to serve on a jury. Employers may not threaten, coerce, or intimidate employees out of serving on a jury, nor may they require employees to use their annual, sick, or vacation leave while on jury duty.
This time is unpaid, unless the employer’s policy requires payment. However, under federal law, employers typically cannot deduct an exempt, salaried employee’s pay for time spent serving on a jury, unless the employee did no work for the entire week. (For more information, see our article on pay docking.) And, employers with ten or more employees must continue health, disability, and life insurance during jury service at the employee's election.