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JANUARY 2018

 

In This Issue:

Aren’t Located in Washington? Surprise! You May Have Employees Covered by the Washington Paid Family Leave Act

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

Like most employers, you probably assume that if you aren’t located in a particular state, then you aren’t covered by that state’s employment laws. Often that is a safe assumption, but sometimes having an employee perform some work in another state or an employee’s state of residency is enough to subject an organization to certain state laws.

Washington’s new paid family leave law is a perfect example of this situation. That law says that a premium will be assessed for each individual in employment with an employer. Employer is defined broadly to include any entity or person with employees, except the federal government. Employment has the more interesting definition and can be one of two things:

  1. The individual’s services are localized within the state.

    Now, localized is not defined, but it most likely means that the majority of the individual’s services are performed within the state. It could also mean that the effect or impact of the individual’s services occurs in the state. So this could not only include someone who works on your premises in Washington, but individuals who telework from Washington, drivers who predominantly drive or deliver goods in Washington, or employees who work out of state, but primarily with Washington customers, businesses or government. We will have to wait for rulemaking to be certain of exactly what “localized” means, but as you can see, it could be defined in a fairly broad way.

  2. The individual performs some services within the state and either (a) the base of operations or place where the service is directed or controlled is in the state or (b) the individual resides in the state.

    So now you have a situation where you have an employee who performs occasional work in Washington – perhaps one day a week meeting with clients or teleworking – and the individual resides there. This employee would be covered under the paid family leave rules. Or if your business is located in Washington, and you have employees who mostly perform work in other states, but occasionally perform work in Washington, they would also be covered. We assume that these terms will be further clarified as well.

It is possible for employers to apply for waivers for certain employees who are physically based outside the state, work in the state on only a limited or temporary basis, and are not expected to be employed in the state for 820 hours or more.

Also of note is that the definition of employment includes all the individual’s services, whether performed in or outside the state. So if someone is engaged in employment as defined by this law, the organization and the employee must pay their respective premium shares for all work performed by the employee, even if it occurs outside the state.

The good news is organizations do not need to begin paying premiums until January 1, 2019, which will give Washington some time to make rules further clarifying the law, and give employers some time to figure out who is covered.

For additional questions about this new law, give us a call.

TOP

Five Things You May Not Know About Jerry's Home Improvement Center –
Featured Member

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

Jerrys Home Improvement LogoIf you’re from the Eugene area, you grew up with the playful TV ads and the quirky billboards that make you smile — and you probably know the jingle by heart. When it’s time to remodel your kitchen or repair a leaky faucet, you know there’s only one place to go: “Better Head for Jerry’s.”

Here are some things you might not know about this favorite Willamette Valley destination:

  1. Jerry’s opened for business in November of 1961 in a 5,000 sq. ft. store on Highway 99 North. Owners Jerry and Merle Orem served one customer that first day. Fifty-six years later, Jerry’s has grown from two employees to hundreds and completes almost two million customer transactions a year.
  2. Jerry’s was built one customer at a time, one project at a time. After many remodels and expansions, Jerry’s ran out of space. In December of 1985, with just over 20 employees, Jerry’s moved to a larger store on the corner of Highway 99 North and Beltline Road.
  3. With son Dennis Orem and his wife Sharon now running the store, Jerry‘s expanded again in 1996, opening the doors of the current 350,000 sq. ft. facility on the corner of Highway 99 North and Beltline, where the business is still run one customer at a time.
  4. After many customer requests, and wanting to provide two convenient locations, Jerry’s opened a second store in January 2003 in Springfield.
  5. In December of 2010, Dennis and Sharon announced they were transitioning ownership of Jerry’s to the employees through an ESOP, allowing them to become shareholders and partners in Jerry’s growth.

A lot has changed at Jerry’s since 1961, but one thing that remains the same is the tradition and commitment to providing the best customer service anywhere—and products at competitive prices. Cascade is pleased to showcase Jerry’s Home Improvement Center, honoring 25 years in Cascade membership.

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Hot Compliance Question

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

Question: What are some things to consider when developing an inclement weather policy?

Answer: 

  1. Who has the authority to make a closure decision?
  2. How are closings communicated to employees – prior to and during the start of the workday?
  3. Are non-exempt employees eligible for pay? Remember, these employees must be paid only for time worked, but you may provide a more generous pay program.
  4. May employees work additional hours or use company-provided time off to make up for time lost?
  5. Do employees have the option of staying home at their discretion, and if so, how will this affect their attendance record?

Including a policy, with specific reporting guidelines, in your Employee Handbook will help you and your employees better prepare for severe weather or other natural disasters.

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NLRB Strikes a More Conservative Tone in Overruling Previous Decision

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

In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in the Lutheran Heritage case. That case found that employers could violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by having workplace policies and rules that, while not explicitly prohibiting or restricting protected activity under the NLRA, could be “reasonably construed” by employees to prohibit or restrict them from exercising their rights under the NLRA.

On December 14, 2017, the NLRB issued its new Boeing decision, which overturned the Lutheran Heritage decision and set out a new standard. Now, when evaluating a facially neutral workplace rule, the board will balance the nature/extent of the rule’s potential restriction of NLRA rights with the legitimate justifications for the rule.

In the Boeing case, the court looked at a no-camera policy and found that, while the policy could have some effect in limiting the employees’ NLRA rights, those concerns were outweighed by Boeing’s justification for the rule, which had to do with national security interests.

As is typical, when the political pendulum shifts, court decisions also shift as judges are appointed by the governing political party. For now, we are starting to see a shift to the right, and over the next three years, we can expect to see more NLRB decisions that continue this shift.

For questions about how the NLRA or this decision affects your business or policies, give us a call.

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HR Stats You Should Know

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

According to a study conducted by OfficeTeam, professionals feel bored at work for 10.5 hours each week. More than 25% of the time! Even more, 40% said they would quit if they were bored.

Do you know if your employees are bored? That’s a scary question to ask, and employees might not feel comfortable answering that question directly. Here are a few tips to find out if your employees are bored:

  1. Simply just pay attention to how they perform their work. Are they going through the motions or are they focused and absorbed? If something looks off, talk with them. What’s better? Even if nothing looks off, talk with them. Regular meaningful communication helps you be able to identify any issues, like boredom, before an employee feels like they need to leave and keeps engaged employees more engaged.

  2. Ask some basic questions like, “What do you most enjoy about your job?” Follow that up with, “Is there anything you would change about your job?” Even easier, “If you won the lottery and decided to leave here, what would you miss the most/least?”

  3. If you want the organizational perspective, consider doing an employee engagement survey or a smaller more customized survey based on a few key areas of concern.

With all of these suggestions, make sure you take meaningful action based on what you find.

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Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Consumer Price Indexes listed were issued December 13, 2017 for November data. 1982-84 = 100, unless otherwise noted.

  CPI-W
United
States
2016

235.215
2017

240.666
Change

2.3%
Portland/
Salem

Avg. 1st 
half/year
2016

237.784
2017

247.871


4.2%
  CPI-U
United
States
2016

241.353
2017

246.669
Change

2.2%
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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