2017 Legal Update for Oregon Employers

2017 Legal Update for Oregon Employers

Several employment law updates and changes are set to take effect in the coming months. Catch up on the measures that have already taken effect and what will change throughout the rest of 2017:

Been there, done that.

These laws recently took effect – review them to ensure your policies are up to date.

 Washington Minimum Wage | Took effect January 1, 2017

On January 1, 2017 the minimum wage for the state of Washington will change to the following rates:

  • $9.53 per hour
  • $11.15 per hour in Tacoma
  • $15.00 per hour in Seattle
  • $13.50 for employers with 500 or more employees + medical benefits
  • $13.00 for employers with 500 or fewer employees
  • $11.00 for employers with 500 or fewer employees + medical benefits or recorded tips of at least
  • $1.50 per hour

The Oregon Wage Theft Law | Took effect January 1, 2017

Beginning January 1, 2017, pay stubs must include more detail:

  • date of the payment;
  • dates of work covered by the payment;
  • employee’s name;
  • name and business registry number or business identification number of the employer;
  • address and telephone number of the employer;
  • rate or rates of pay;
  • whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, or week or on a salary piece, or commission basis;
  • gross wages;
  • net wages;
  • the amount and purpose of each deduction made during the period of service that the payment covers
  • allowances, if any, claimed as part of minimum wage
  • unless paid on a salary basis and legally exempt from overtime pay, the regular hourly rate or rates of pay, the overtime rate or rates of pay, the number of regular hours worked and pay for those hours, and the number of overtime hours worked and pay for those hours
  • if paid on a piece rate, the applicable piece rate or rates of pay, the number of pieces completed at each rate, and the total pay for each rate

Employers may provide itemized pay stubs to employees in electronic form, but only if:

  • the employee expressly agrees to receive them in electronic form; and
  • the employee has the ability to print or store the statement at the time of receipt.

Oregon Personnel Records | Took effect January 1, 2017

Beginning January 1, 2017, in response to a request for personnel records, employers must also produce payroll records for at least 3 years and time records for at least 2 years

Additional Whistleblower Protection for Employees of Public Employers & Non-profits Receiving Public Funds | Took effect January 1, 2017

    • Effective January 1, 2017
    • Public sector employees and employees of a non-profit receiving public funds may disclose lawfully accessed information related to a violation of federal, state, or local law by their employer
    • Disclosure must be made in good faith and objectively reasonable
    • Disclosure is limited to:
      • A state or federal regulatory agency
      • A law enforcement agency
      • A manager employed by the employer
      • An attorney licensed in Oregon in the furtherance of professional legal services to the employee
    • Certain exceptions for attorneys and contracts apply
    • Any disclosure must still comply with federal law, including HIPAA
    • Public sector employers and employers of a non-profit receiving public funds must adopt a policy that delineates the rights and remedies of employees who make permissible disclosures; employers must provide employees with a paper or electronic copy of the policy

Federal Contractor Sick Leave | Took effect January 1, 2017

On September 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor passed a final rule requiring certain federal contractors to provide up to 56 hours of paid sick leave to employees working on certain federal contracts.  The law went into effect on January 1, 2017 and applies to certain new contracts with the Federal Government that result from solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2017 or that are awarded outside the solicitation process on or after January 1, 2017.  Below is the list of contract types that are required to comply with this new law.

Contract types that are covered by the new rule:

  • a procurement contract for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA);
  • a contract for services covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA);
  • a contract for concessions, including any concessions contract excluded from coverage under the SCA by Department of Labor regulations at 29 CFR 4.133(b);
  • a contract in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public

Leave Accrual:

  • Employees covered by these federal contracts must earn at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked on or in connection with a federal contract.
  • Maximum accrual in 12 months is 56 hours.

I-9 Form | Took effect January 22, 2017

USCIS released a revised version of the I-9 form which employers were required to begin using no later than January 22, 2017.  The form can now be completed on a computer or by hand (or a combination of both) but still needs to be printed and physically signed by the employer and employee regardless of the method used to complete the form.  Link to new form and instructions: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9

On hold.

This regulation is postponed.

New Overtime Regulations: U.S. Federal Court Judge Enjoins Implementation of FLSA Regulations  | On hold as of September 2016

In September 2016, 21 U.S. states filed a lawsuit to enjoin the implementation of the long-anticipated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations, which were scheduled to go into effect on December 1, 2016. The states argued that the Department of Labor’s regulations (the “Final Rule”) would force states and businesses to substantially increase their labor costs, as the Final Rule would have nearly doubled the minimum salary required to qualify for most of the so-called “white collar” exemptions.  A similar lawsuit was filed the same day by more than 50 business groups and was ultimately consolidated with the states’ lawsuit.

The injunction is expressly nationwide in scope, including applying to states that did not join in the lawsuit.  Accordingly, pending further action, the December 1, 2016 implementation date of the Final Rule is postponed and employers need not adjust salaries upward in order to continue to claim exempt status.

On deck.

These laws have not yet taken effect.

Oregon Minimum Wage | Takes effect July 1, 2017

On July 1, 2017 the minimum wage for the state of Oregon will change to the following rates:

  • $10.25 per hour
  • $11.25 per hour for Portland urban growth boundary
  • $10.00 for nonurban counties*

*Nonurban counties: Baker, Klamath, Coos, Lake, Crook, Malheur, Curry, Morrow, Douglas, Sherman, Gilliam, Umatilla, Grant, Union, Harney, Wallowa, Jefferson, Wheeler

Washington Sick Leave | Takes effect January 1, 2018

Effective January 1, 2018, employers in Washington will be required to provide employees with paid sick leave.

Leave Accrual and Carryover:

  • One hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • Unused sick leave of 40 hours or less must be carried over to the following year.

Leave Usage:

  • Employees are entitled to use accrued sick leave beginning on the 90th calendar day of employment.
  • Employees may use sick leave to care for themselves or a family member’s illness, injury, or health condition, including diagnosis, treatment, care, and preventive care.
  • Employees may use sick leave when the employee’s work or the employee’s child’s school or place of care has been closed by order of a public official for any health-related reason.
  • Employees may use paid sick leave for absences that qualify for leave under the state’s Domestic Violence Leave Act.

More resources:

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries

United States Department of Labor

Allison Julander


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