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Can I be fired for taking time off to care for a family member?

On Behalf of | Sep 19, 2023 | Employment Law |

No matter how much you enjoy your job, sometimes unexpected events, such as the illness or injury of a family member, cause you to take time off. Because sudden illnesses or injuries often come with no set timeframe for recovery, you might not know how long you will be out of work for.

While taking care of your family member may be your priority, it’s natural for you to still worry about your job status. You do not need the stress of worrying if you still have a job to go back to.

Oregon Family Leave Act

Generally, firing you because you took time off to care for a family member could be wrongful termination. You may be protected under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA). To qualify under the OFLA, your employer must have at least 25 employees and you must have worked a certain number of hours per week for a certain number of days.

OFLA provides you with up to 12 weeks of time off each year to care for a family member with a serious health condition. A family member includes a spouse or domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, child’s spouse or domestic partner, grandparent, grandparent’s spouse or domestic partner or a grandchild.

The family member can also be any person related by blood or affinity you have such a close association with that they are considered a family member.

Paid Leave Oregon

Additionally, Paid Leave Oregon was recently enacted. It is important to learn if you qualify for Paid Leave Oregon, because if you do, you can take up to 12 weeks of leave to take care of a family member while still receiving a percentage of your wages. Your job and position are protected if you have worked for the same employer for 90 consecutive days.

Paid Leave Oregon can be used in conjunction with the OFLA, as well as federal protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Knowing how these laws interact with each other can get complex, so learning how they apply to your situation can provide you with the maximum available protections.


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