Oregon employers must prepare for statewide paid sick leave law

by Cal Keith

Paid sick leave will be the law in Oregon as of January 1, 2016, now that Governor Kate Brown has signed legislation passed by the state legislature in mid-June.

The statewide law mostly mirrors Portland’s sick leave law, which took effect January 1, 2014. It provides that covered employers must allow employees to accrue up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of paid sick time to the next year, but they can use only 40 hours in any one year.

read more…

Categories: HR Hero Alerts / Oregon


Oregon employers shouldn’t freak out over new marijuana law

by Calvin L. Keith

On November 4, Oregon voters passed Initiative 91, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Oregon. With Oregon joining other states that have approved recreational marijuana use, Oregon employers may be wondering what the new law means for their drug policies. The short answer is not much.

Initiative 91, which will take effect on July 1, 2015, allows the purchase, distribution, and use of marijuana for recreational purposes in Oregon. Those acts remain illegal under federal law. Federal contractors and employers that receive federal funding still must prohibit the consumption of marijuana on their premises. Employers with employees who are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow regulations on drug testing and drug use.

read more…

Employers need to be ready for end of Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban

The end of Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage means employers need to take a look at their benefits policies and what laws require in terms of married couples.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled on May 19 that the ban on same-sex marriage, which was added to the state constitution after voters passed Measure 36 in 2004, violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling made Oregon the 18th state to allow same-sex marriage. Then on May 20, Pennsylvania joined took the list to 19 states when another federal judge overturned that state’s ban. In addition to the 19 states, Washington, D.C., also allows same-sex marriages.

read more…

New Oregon law gives employees bereavement leave

by Calvin Keith

Oregon will become the first state in the nation to require employers to provide bereavement leave when House Bill 2950 takes effect January 1.

The new law allows for bereavement leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA). The law applies to any employer with 25 or more employees in Oregon. Any employee of a covered employer who has been employed for more than 180 days at an average of 25 or more hours per week is entitled to take OFLA leave.

An employee may take up to two weeks of bereavement leave within 60 days of the date on which she receives notice of the death of a family member. “Family member” is defined as the employee’s spouse; same-sex domestic partner; biological, adoptive, or foster parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild; parent-in-law; or a person with whom the employee was in an in loco parentis relationship.

read more…

New Oregon law allows veterans to take off on Veterans Day

by Calvin L. Keith

Veterans Day is coming up on November 11, and a new law in Oregon makes the day even more significant for veterans who want the day off.

The 2013 Oregon Legislature passed a bill requiring employers to provide veterans with paid or unpaid time off on Veterans Day. “Veterans” include those who have served in the U.S. armed forces and have been discharged under honorable conditions.

Employees wanting to take advantage of the new law on Monday were required to provide 21 calendar days’ notice and proof of veteran status. An employer may deny a request if it determines that providing the time off would cause severe economic or operational disruptions.

read more…

Categories: Oregon

Tags: , ,

Portland, Oregon, latest to adopt mandatory sick leave law

by Calvin L. Keith

Portland, Oregon, has become just the fourth U.S. city to require that employers provide sick leave. The new ordinance goes into effect January 1, 2014. Here is a brief summary.

Who is covered?

read more…

Minimum wage going up in 10 states

December 10, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The 2013 minimum hourly wage is set to go up in 10 states.

  • Arizona. The rate goes from $7.65 to $7.80. The state’s minimum wage is adjusted annually based on a cost-of-living formula.
  • Colorado. The rate is going from $7.64 an hour to $7.78 based on an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Florida. The rate goes from $7.67 to $7.79 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Missouri. The rate goes from $7.25 to $7.35 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Montana. The rate rises from $7.65 to $7.80 based on a cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Ohio. The rate goes from $7.70 to $7.85.
  • Oregon. The minimum hourly rate goes from $8.80 to $8.95 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
  • Rhode Island. Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law the state’s first minimum wage hike since 2007, raising the rate from $7.40 to $7.75 per hour.
  • Vermont. The rate goes from $8.46 to $8.60 based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Washington. The rate goes from $9.04 to $9.19 because of an annual cost-of-living adjustment.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Federal law requires employers in states that set their own minimum wage to pay whichever rate is higher.

Six States Increase Indexed Minimum Wages for 2011

December 27, 2010 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

As the new year approaches, a number of states will see index-driven increases to their minimum wage rates. Specifically, Arizona, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington will each add around 10 cents per hour to their existing wage rates, based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of a little more than one percent from August 2009 to August 2010. Two other states, Florida and Missouri, have chosen not to adjust their indexed wages.

In Arizona, the state minimum wage will increase from $7.25 to $7.35 per hour and will remain at that rate throughout the next year. Tipped employees’ hourly wages also will increase 10 cents, from $4.25 to $4.35. The new minimum wage must be posted in an area where employees can read the poster, such as the break room.

read more…

Oregon Court Says No to Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

April 16, 2010 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

by Calvin Keith, Perkins Coie

For over 10 years, Oregon employers have been waiting for an answer to the question of whether they must accommodate a disabled worker’s use of medical marijuana. The Oregon Supreme Court’s April 14 decision in Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. v. Bureau of Labor and Industries answers that question with a resounding NO.

Emerald Steel terminated a temporary employee who, during the process of seeking permanent employment, disclosed that he used medical marijuana two to three times a day. The company said it didn’t have to accommodate a claimed disability by allowing the employee to use illegal drugs. It argued that position unsuccessfully before the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and the Oregon Court of Appeals.

read more…

EEOC Files Sexual Harassment Case Against Oregon Agriculture Employers

June 23, 2009 - by: HR Hero 1 COMMENTS

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed its third sexual harassment case in less than a year against Oregon agricultural employers. The most recent suit charges that sexual harassment and retaliation occurred at Willamette Tree Wholesale, a retail nursery with 140 acres of farmland and a garden supply store in Molalla, Oregon, where Latina workers were allegedly sexually harassed and threatened, and at least one woman was repeatedly raped.

Regarding the case, EEOC Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “From California, where the fields were called ‘field de calzon’ (or ‘field of panties’) because so many supervisors raped women there, to Florida, where female farm workers call them ‘The Green Motel,’ and throughout the country, we have found women working in agriculture are often particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment. We hope this third Oregon lawsuit will send notice to employers in this industry to stop predatory sexual behavior and abuses of supervisor power.”

read more…