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AUGUST 2017

 

In This Issue:

The Aftermath – Oregon Legislative Session Ends – Where do Employers Stand?

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
rorr@cascadeemployers.com

The 2017 Oregon Legislative Session officially ended on July 10. So what new laws do employers have to look forward to in the coming months?

While several new bills have passed and signed into law, there are four major new laws of which employers should be aware. Click on each of the links below to read a full description of the law:

  1. The Oregon Equal Pay Act
  2. The Fair Workweek Act (or Predictive Scheduling Law)
  3. Amendments to the Oregon Sick Leave Law
  4. Amendments to daily overtime and maximum hours worked rules in certain industries

While a few other bills also passed, these are the main ones to be aware of. In the coming months, we will look to any rulemaking BOLI engages in to provide clarification on these laws. We will keep you updated on any of those developments, and we will be conducting classes on some of these laws once we know more, including Preparing for Oregon’s Equal Pay Act on August 16.

So stay tuned, and give us a call if you have any questions in the meantime.

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New I-9 Form Required by September 18, 2017

By Jenna Reed, JD, MBA, General Counsel, Director of Compliance Services
Cascade Employers Association
jreed@cascadeemployers.com

In July, the USCIS announced and published an updated I-9 Form that will be required to be used by employers by September 18, 2017. While employers can continue using the old form until September 17, using the updated form now is also permissible.

Although relatively minor, the changes to the instructions include:

  • The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices changed to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • In regards to when employers must complete their portion of the I-9 Form, the phrase “the end of the first day of employment” was changed to “the first day of employment.”

Changes to the list of acceptable documents include:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) was added to List C.
  • All of the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) were combined into selection C #2 in List C.
  • All List C documents were renumbered except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C will change from List C #8 to List C #7.

The USCIS also updated its Employer Handbook to reflect these changes.

If you have any questions about the new form or your I-9s please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help.

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Five Things You May Not Know About Toklat Originals –
Featured Member

By Gayle Klampe, President
Cascade Employers Association
gklampe@cascadeemployers.com

Toklat Originals Logo If you’re an equestrian enthusiast, chances are you’ve crossed this popular manufacturer’s path a time or two. Did you know...

  1. In 1976, Jim Mreen purchased Toklat Originals, consisting of a couple of vans filled with one brand of equestrian gear, CoolBack. Over the next few years the company quickly expanded into a huge manufacturing and distribution facility located in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
  2. Toklat consults with leading horse experts and product designers whose expertise goes into the products they make. Many products have been tested and endorsed by top horsemen and women in both the English and Western communities. Today they manufacture and distribute over 30 brands, including CoolBack, WoolBack, Medallion, SuperQuilt and Premium Southwest.
  3. Recognized world-wide, Toklat employs a number of talented individuals who are not only experts in their respective equine disciplines, but also have a passion for everything horse-related. Before a product hits the stores, it has been tried and tested to ensure that it performs to the rigorous Toklat standard.
  4. The company sponsors award-winning Dressage, Eventing, Jumping, Endurance and Western teams as well as clinicians like Julie Goodnight, the popular RFD-TV host of Horse Master.
  5. Origins of their name: Toklat is a location in the Denali National Park of Alaska and the name of the river that runs through it. Pronounced toe•klat, the name comes from the Tanana Indian language meaning “cloudy white water”; a result of the ice and snow melt. The area is home to the Toklat grizzly, a powerfully built bear with long, thick hair, a striking pale golden body and chocolate-colored legs.

Cascade is proud to feature Toklat Originals, a company dedicated to helping equestrians pursue their passion through premium products.

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Hot Compliance Question

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
rorr@cascadeemployers.com

Question: Can our organization require exempt employees to use PTO for any absence?

Answer: Yes. While it is not a typical practice for short absences (i.e. an hour or two in a day), you may require exempt employees to use PTO for any type of absence, just like non-exempt employees.

Generally, it is up to your company policy to determine when and in what increments of time use of PTO will be required. For example, you may not want to require the use of PTO if exempt employees leave 1 or 2 hours early, but you may want to require them to use PTO when they leave 3 or more hours early. Alternatively, you could require exempt employees to use PTO any time they leave work during their regularly scheduled work hours. Defining those regularly scheduled or core hours is an important aspect of this as well. Communicating your policy and applying it consistently is key in managing your risk.

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Tips for HR Ninjas: Are You Keeping Your Employees Happy?

By Bethany Wright, HR Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
bwright@cascadeemployers.com

Did you know that the average worker in America spends less than 16 months in one role?1 According to studies, employees are leaving jobs more frequently than their predecessors.

If you want to keep your employees from jumping ship, there are a few ways to help retain them:

  1. Train your management staff and develop them into good leaders. Many employees leave a company due to poor management, versus disliking the job they’re doing.
  2. Ensure employees fully understand what is expected of them. When expectations change without proper communication or are not made clear, it causes frustration and unwanted stress which can negatively impact employee productivity and satisfaction.
  3. Regularly participate in and utilize salary surveys to ensure you are paying competitive rates.
  4. Recognize your employees when they perform well, and reward them to show that you appreciate their hard work.
  5. Develop employees and help them build their skills to grow within the company.
  6. Interview employees who quit to find out why they are leaving. This can help you pinpoint some areas you need to work on in the future. Better yet, conduct stay interviews to find out what keeps employees engaged and what would improve their work experience. Engagement surveys can also help provide an anonymous way of getting this information as well.

By focusing on retaining the employees you have, you will spend less time recruiting and your employees will have a better understanding of the company and business, overall.

A Quick Pulse Survey (a free member benefit) could be a good start; with just three questions, this quick and anonymous online survey will help you discover what matters most to your employees and what they feel is in most need of improvement.


1 https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/why-do-workers-quit/.

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Washington Paid Family Leave and Sick Leave

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
rorr@cascadeemployers.com

Back in 2007, the Washington legislature passed a paid family leave program, but they were unable to agree on how the program would be funded. For that reason, that law never went into effect. In the most recent legislative session, state legislators were able to pass a bill that included a funding component. The law is set to take effect in 2020. Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for either parental leave or the employee or family member’s serious health condition. Employees may also take a combined 16 total paid weeks if needing leave for both reasons. Employees must work at least 820 hours for an employer before becoming eligible for the benefit.

Both employees and employers will be funding the program through a new state payroll tax of .4% of wages, with 63% of the tax being paid by employees and 37% paid by employers. However, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from paying the employer share.

Undoubtedly, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries will be engaging in rulemaking to further clarify how the program will work, so stay tuned.

Turning back the clock to last year’s legislative session, Washington passed a statewide sick leave law. That law is set to take effect on January 1, 2018. Here are some of the highlights of that law:

  • Employees begin accruing time immediately at a rate of 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • Employers can require an employee to work for at least 90 days to become eligible to use paid sick leave.
  • Employers must allow employees to carryover at least 40 hours of unused sick leave each year.
  • Employees may use the sick leave for their own illness or to care for a family member with an illness, for reasons that qualify under Washington’s Domestic Violence Leave Act, and for certain public health emergencies that result in closure of a workplace or an employee’s child’s school.

L&I is still in the rulemaking process to further clarify the sick leave law and will be holding public hearings on the rulemaking throughout August.

For additional information about how these new laws may affect your organization, contact us today.

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Zombie FLSA – Is the DOL Taking Action to Move Forward on the Overtime Exemption Salary Threshold Increases?

By Ryan Orr, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association
rorr@cascadeemployers.com

As you surely remember, the Department of Labor promulgated a rule to increase the salary threshold for the overtime exemption to $47,476 per year. That rule was supposed to take effect on December 1, 2016, but was enjoined by a federal judge in Texas.

In a brief filed by DOL in that lawsuit at the end of June 2017, the DOL has decided that it will not advocate for the $47,476 salary level set out in the final rule. The Department did, however, ask the court to address its legal authority to change the salary threshold, indicating that it may engage in additional rulemaking to determine a different salary threshold after the litigation is resolved and if the court affirms the DOL’s authority to change the salary threshold.

Where does that leave employers? Well, it indicates that at some point in the future, the salary threshold will probably be increased. However, it also indicates that the increase is probably quite a ways into the future.

Remember, it took almost a year and a half from the DOL’s initial rulemaking to get to the point where the final rule was set to take effect. Additionally, there is no way to tell exactly how long it will take for the litigation in this matter to be resolved. That leaves us with a possible timeline of around two years. So while we will likely see some changes to the salary threshold at some point, we still have quite a bit of time before we would need to make any changes.

For additional information on wage and hour law and how it may affect your organization’s practices, give us a call.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Consumer Price Indexes listed were issued July 14, 2017 for June data. 1982-84 = 100, unless otherwise noted.

  CPI-W
United
States
2016

235.289
2017

238.813
Change

1.5%
Portland/
Salem

Avg. 1st 
half/year
2016

237.784
2017

247.871


4.2%
  CPI-U
United
States
2016

241.018
2017

244.955
Change

1.6%
Portland/
Salem

Avg. 1st
half/year
2016

247.143
2017

258.055


4.4%

Note: The Consumer Price Index (CPI) program produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of certain retail goods and services. CPI-W consists of urban households whose primary source of income is derived from the employment of wage earners and clerical workers. CPI-U includes wage earners and clerical workers, salaried workers, the self-employed, retirees, and the unemployed.

US Department of Labor Historical CPI Data

 


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