Recently there have been many changes to policies and legislation that all of our members need to be made aware of and be sure that they review, learn and update within their organizations accordingly. In addition, over the next couple of years, you can expect to see continuous changes and updates needing to be made that if not done, have a potential liability left open for your organization.
Below is a listing of some of the more immediate and impactful changes that you must be sure to review and adopt. This is not an all-inclusive list and we encourage all our members to research and become educated on all of the various legislative changes that have occurred. Review the 2019 Legislative Summary.
1. On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level. The new thresholds account for growth in employee earnings since the thresholds were last updated in 2004. The final rule is effective on January 1, 2020.
In the final rule, the Department is:
- raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker);
- raising the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year;
- allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and
- revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.
2. The 2019 Legislative Session passed a number of Human Resource related bills that require our members attention. Including the following:
a. SB 479 – Requires the Establishment or Adoption of a Written Policy (with very specific policy provisions) to Prevent Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation
In the past months our partners at HR Answers, Inc. have been conducting webinars and providing a template policy for consideration. This policy is offered, without charge to those members who have their general liability insurance with SDIS (and are a part of the Advantage Plus Program with HR Answers). This new legislation goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Contact HR Answers for more information.
For members that do not have their general liability insurance with SDIS, please contact (redacted) to review this policy and ensure you are also compliant by January 1, 2020. More Information.
b. HB 2341 and HB 2593 – Reasonable Accommodation Pregnancy and Expression of Breastmilk
The Oregon Legislature recently passed House Bill 2341 (2019) and HB 2593 which provides additional employee protections related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, including lactation.1 The law becomes effective January 1, 2020.
More Information and a Template for the Posting Requirement
c. HB 2016 – Relating to Collective Bargaining
Employers must allow designated representatives of bargaining units reasonable time to engage in activities related to that designation. This time must not alter the terms and conditions of employment, such as compensation or leave accruals, except that an employer may prevent the employee from working unauthorized overtime. Written agreements between employers and unions, which allow for release time for employees to serve as designated representatives and guarantee either their reinstatement or reemployment in substantially similar roles, can be negotiated and executed and will not be considered an unfair labor practice. Employers must also provide unions with reasonable access to represented employees, to include: the ability to meet new employees during orientations (within 30 calendar days of employment), to meet with existing employees at the workplace (during work or non-work time), the requirement to furnish the union with certain employee information; and access to communicate with employees via the employer’s email system. Lastly, creates the requirement for an employee to authorize, via an agreement with a union, an employer to deduct union dues/fees, etc., from pay and remit them to the union; such dues/fees may also be remitted to a non certified labor organization, if authorized by the employee. Such authorization may occur either by phone or in writing, including an electronic record or signature, and remains valid until revocation. Unions must furnish employers with a list of employees who authorized deductions.
d. SB 519 – Equal Pay Act Amendment
Amends Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, ORS 652.220, specifying that employees may be compensated differently when an employee is performing modified work in association with a compensable injury and/or performing modified work temporarily as a result of a medical condition. In the latter situation, the modified work must be authorized by a medical professional or authorized by the employer in a manner which does not discriminate. clarifies that pay differences for work of comparable character based on collective bargaining agreements are acceptable, as long as they include and are ultimately based alone the factors in the Act. Also defines a system, as referred to in the factors, to be a consistent and verifiable method in use when a violation of the Act is alleged.
f. HB 2005 – Paid Family Leave
Establishes a paid family (excluding sick child and bereavement leave) and medical leave insurance program, administered by the Oregon Employment Department. Amends the OFLA to set limits on the amount of leave an employee can take under this program and OFLA to 18 weeks; only 12 weeks of which are generally payable, except in the instance of pregnancy disability, which may provide an additional two weeks of benefits.