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OCTOBER 2017

 

In This Issue:

Introducing Cascade’s New Group Insurance Consultant

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

Julie Mauk

Did you know that Cascade offers a member-only group health insurance program for employees? We do, and have since 1960! I’m happy to report that Cascade recently added a new Group Insurance Consultant, Julie Mauk, to work with members looking for medical, dental, life and disability insurance coverage. Julie had previously worked with us for quite some time as an outside consultant, so we’re very fortunate to now have her on our team to support employers.

Julie would love to talk with you if you happen to be in the market for group insurance or if you would like a comparative quote for the upcoming renewal period.

Explore our group insurance programs on our website.

More about Julie Mauk

jmauk@cascadeemployers.com
503.585.4320

As a native Oregonian, Julie has significant benefits expertise in the Pacific Northwest marketplace, providing consulting services to small to mid-size employers, including many nonprofits. Taking the complexity out of employee health benefit selection, while ensuring employers get what they need at a competitive price, is what you’ll experience while working with Julie.

She has worked for over 25 years in various marketing, management and consulting roles, including 17 years with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. She also operated her own benefits agency, Mauk and Associates. Julie sold her agency in 2003 and traveled extensively, including living in South America.

She enjoys gardening, outdoor activities and spending time with her furry family (3 dogs, 1 cat). A wine aficionado, Julie recently started making her own wine which is almost ready to bottle.

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Responding to the Possible Rescission of DACA

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

Early in September, the Trump Administration announced it was going to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by the Obama Administration in 2012. DACA authorizes young adults who were illegally brought to the US as children by their parents to live and work legally in the United States. The Administration set a rescission date of March 5, 2018 in order to allow Congress time to address this issue through legislation such as the DREAM Act of 2017.

For employers, the impact could be significant with approximately 800,000 individuals (commonly referred to as Dreamers) participating in this program, the majority of which are legally employed. If their work permits expire, they could face deportation leaving a gaping hole for many employers.

The Latino Community Association provided a few important things for DACA recipients and employers to know:

  • No current DACA recipients are affected until March 5, 2018 – at the earliest. One exception is someone holding a permit that expires before March 5, 2018.
  • October 5, 2017 is the deadline to renew DACA for anyone whose permit expires between now and March 5, 2018.
  • DACA permits will be honored until their expiration date, which could be as late as March 5, 2020.

The Department of Homeland Security’s FAQ on DACA is also a great resource for both DACA participants and employers.

While it is important for employers to be looking at and planning for the potential impact, it’s also important to not overreact. For example, while employers face many legal consequences for employing unauthorized workers, employers should not take any employment actions now against current employees or applicants based on their temporary work authorizations. As long as their authorizations have not expired, they are eligible to continue working.

Taking an action now, such as terminating them due to the possible expiration of their work authorization at a later date, could result in significant legal liability. However, if the DACA rescission goes ahead as planned and no other legislation is passed, employers should review work authorizations to ensure current employees have unexpired authorizations and are legally authorized to continue to work.

Cascade will continue to keep employers updated about this important issue. Of course, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you have.

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Five Things You May Not Know About Oregon School of Massage –
Featured Member

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

OSM LogoFor more than 30 years, the Oregon School of Massage has provided the most holistic, integrated approach to massage education in Oregon. This integrated approach is a core value that drives the whole program. Did you know...

  1. 30+ years ago the founder of Oregon School of Massage, Ray Siderius, developed a massage therapy program in a professional center that housed a physician, several counselors, several massage therapists and a meditation teacher. All these disciplines influenced Ray in the development of the program. Ray has a background in education, psychology and health science which led him to appreciate massage as an important health care component.

  2. OSM offers a 640 hour program that can be completed in as little as 15 months. Their program may take a bit longer than others because it is designed to be flexible for people who need to work and/or who have significant family obligations. Students can start any quarter and take as few or as many classes as they want.

  3. OSM classes occasionally draw people from not only around the US but from around the world as well. In the US they’ve attracted students from Florida, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alaska and many other states. World wide students have come from Austria, Scotland, England, Alberta, Vancouver, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

  4. Several instructors at OSM are nationally published authors including Gayle McDonald, Frank Coppieters, Mary Betts Sinclair, Marion Dixon, Doug Nelson, Leslie Stagger and David Lauterstein.

  5. Oregon School of Massage provides financial assistance in the form of low interest, in-house loans that can be spread over a period of up to six years. This allows many of their graduates to start their practice with less debt than they would have with FAFSA.

Cascade is pleased to feature Oregon School of Massage, where they believe what a therapist communicates through their touch, combined with knowledge of the body and presence, can make the difference between a basic massage and a truly healing experience.

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Hot Compliance Question

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

Question: One of my employees recently complained to me that a customer is harassing her. I can’t control what my customers do or say, so is there really anything I can do about this situation?

Answer: Employers have a legal obligation to have a workplace that is free from all types of harassment, including harassment from customers or other outsiders.

In fact, an Oregon company was sued a couple years ago for $67,000 for failing to respond to a deli employee’s complaint that a customer was sexually harassing her. In response to the complaint, the store’s manager allegedly told the employee that the company couldn’t do anything about harassment unless it was personally observed by management. Management does not, however, need to personally observe the harassment to take action. A company should respond to a complaint about customer harassment as it would with any other complaint: by conducting a reasonable investigation and taking appropriate action. If the harassment is substantiated, the customer should be told to stop the behavior, and if it continues, the customer should be prohibited from coming on the employer’s premises.

While some companies struggle with this issue because of their desire to provide good customer service and their fear of losing business, the cost of a harassment complaint will usually be greater than the cost of losing a single customer. And do you really want to be doing business with a person who harasses your employees? Or in the news for failing to address this type of situation? The answer here should be an easy one.

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Tips for HR Ninjas: Is “Culture Fit” Hurting You?

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

It doesn’t always pay to find employees that fit a specific company culture. You may wind up missing out on a great candidate because you didn’t think they fit the “mold” you have created.

The idea of “company culture fit” has gone from being a useful tool for recruitment, to being used as a weapon when someone who “doesn’t fit the mold” applies for an open position. Rather than trying to find people who can make the company better, this ‘culture fit’ excuse has grown into a way to weed out those who do not work, think or act ‘like us’, and thus, ‘they must just not fit within our company.’

However, the trick is to look for what candidates can add to your culture, rather than whether they fit into the culture you have already established. Just that minute shift in thinking could allow for a much more open mind when it comes to filling an open position and who you may find is the right person for the job.

This tiny shift could help businesses discover that they have many more capable applicants who may just move the company into a brighter future, bringing in fresh, new ideas to an otherwise stagnant workforce.

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Distracted Driving Now Illegal in Oregon

Courtesy of Safety Northwest
safetynorthwest.org

Safety First ImageOctober 1, 2017 was the big day when cell phones and drivers became legally separated in Oregon. Yes – it’s true: electronic multitasking and driving are now legislatively disconnected for the sake of preventing 3600 crashes every year. The new law – known as the no cellphone, no navigation, no social media while driving bill - declares it illegal to drive while holding or using a mobile communication device (e.g. cell phone, tablet, GPS, laptop).

The fines are seriously high: absolute minimum is $130, usual is $260, and up to $1,000 for the first violation (up to $2500 if there’s a crash); $2,000 and possibly jail for the third time violation. All violations go on your driving record – no exceptions.

Officially, "mobile communication device" means a “text messaging device or a wireless, two-way communication device designed to receive and transmit voice or text communication.”

There are exceptions that make sense. A driver can use one in an emergency – but only if no other person in your vehicle is capable of summoning help. The biggest exception allows drivers 18 or over to use a hands-free accessory. "Hands-free accessory" means “an attachment or built-in feature for or an addition to a mobile communication device, whether or not permanently installed in a motor vehicle, that when used allows a person to maintain both hands on the steering wheel.”

This means the electronic device better be mounted or bolted into place, or only used in Bluetooth contact with your vehicle’s electronics. And even then you can only touch it for a single touch or swipe to “activate or deactivate” the device – at least that is how most people seem to be understanding the new law's wording.

Oregon lawmakers passed this new strict hands-free law that won't allow drivers to touch their phones, or any other mobile electronic device, while behind the wheel to close a huge loophole that in order to issue a citation required cops to actually see your mouth moving into a phone, or fingers actively texting.

Does this new law include everything having to do with a cell phone or a mobile electronic device while driving? Almost.

  • Holding a cell phone? Time to get serious – no.
  • Talking on cell phone while having it on your lap? Nope.
  • Using GPS feature on cell phone? No.
  • Texting? Don’t even think about it.
  • Nobody under 18 years of age can use a mobile communication device at all – nothing – while operating a vehicle.

More info:

  • Using the device when parked safely, i.e., stopped at the side of the road or in a designated parking spot – is OK. It is NOT legal to use the device when stopped at a stop light, stop sign, in traffic, etc.
  • Using a two-way radio is OK. 10-4 CBers!
  • HAM radio operators (18 years or older) are OK too.

Everybody knows distracted driving is bad – and everybody’s “just this one time” exemptions have resulted in a lot of crashes. This new law will help a lot of families stay together - forever.

Thanks Oregon.

Reminder: OregonSaves Enrollment Begins for Some Employers in October

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

Just a quick reminder that employers with 100 or more employees are required to either enroll in or certify for an exemption from the OregonSaves retirement plan sometime between October 1 and November 15. Employers with qualified 401(a), 401(k), 403(a), 403(b), 408(k), 408(p), and 457(b) plans qualify for an exemption.

Employers can enroll or certify an exemption here.

DOL Gives Notice of Minimum Wage Increase for Federal Contractors

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

Beginning January 1, 2018, covered federal contractors will be required to pay a minimum wage of at least $10.35 per hour – up from $10.20 per hour – for employees performing work on or in connection with a covered federal contract.

For additional information about your federal contracting obligations or affirmative action plans or audits, give us a call today.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

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

  CPI-W
United
States
2016

234.904
2017

239.448
Change

1.9%
Portland/
Salem

Avg. 1st 
half/year
2016

237.784
2017

247.871


4.2%
  CPI-U
United
States
2016

240.849
2017

245.519
Change

1.9%
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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