NewsBrief: October 2019

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In This Issue:

New Salary Threshold for Overtime Takes Effect January 2020

By Melanie Williams, Compensation Consultant
Cascade Employers Association

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new salary threshold that increases the minimum annual salary for exempt positions from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $35,568 ($684 per week). According to the DOL, this threshold is estimated to make 1.3 million American workers eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A similar change was supposed to take effect in 2016, but the rule was enjoined at the last minute before the effective date.

As we saw with the 2016 rule, employers can include up to 10% of an employee’s salary from non-discretionary bonuses, incentives and commissions in meeting the salary threshold. These payments must be paid at least annually. There will be no changes made to the FLSA’s “duties test.” This rule will take effect January 1, 2020.

Employers should start reviewing their compensation structures for the impact this will have. Employers may need to increase employee salaries, move some employees from exempt to nonexempt and consider any overtime they may now accrue, look at incentive options, restructure work to eliminate or minimize overtime, or a combination of these actions.

Employers should also watch out for wage compression which can occur if employers increase employee pay and salary range minimums, similar to what happened when Oregon changed its minimum wage law.

If your organization needs to evaluate its salary structure for the new overtime rules, Cascade is here to help. We offer extensive compensation services to ensure your organization is competitive and compliant.


USCIS Extends Use of Expired I-9 Form

By Jenna Reed, VP of HR Services and General Counsel
Cascade Employers Association

The current version for the I-9 Form expired on August 31, 2019. However, the USCIS announced that employers should continue to use the current form until it publishes a new form.

Cascade will notify employers once the USCIS makes the new form available.


EEO-1 Component 2 Will Not Be Renewed

By Jenna Reed, VP of HR Services and General Counsel
Cascade Employers Association

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that it will not seek to renew Component 2 (pay data) of the EEO-1. As you likely recall, covered employers were required to submit Component 2 of the EEO-1 (pay data) no later than September 30, 2019.

Along with the statement that renewal will not be sought, the EEOC announced in a September 27, 2019 Status Report that it will continue to accept Component 2 data for 2017 and 2018 until it reaches what the Court has determined to be the target response rate. As of September 25th, 39.7% of eligible filers have submitted their Component 2 Data. However, even with the extension, employers should file Component 2 Data as soon as possible. Accordingly, if you failed to submit your data by the September 30th deadline, the portal is still open and accepting submissions.

Although the EEOC will not seek to renew Component 2, it has submitted a request to continue to collect Component 1 data annually from covered employers.


Five Things You May Not Know About Red Ridge Farms –
Featured Member

By Gayle Gilham, President
Cascade Employers Association

From grapes to olives, to their award-winning end products, this 5th generation family farm leads the industry with a trailblazing spirit. Did you know....

Red Ridge logo
  1. For more than 45 years the Durant family of Red Ridge Farms has acted as stewards of the land on the hillside they call home. Over the years their vision has grown to include Durant Vineyards Winery & Tasting Room, award winning Durant Olive Mill extra virgin olive oil, Durant Culinary, Durant Body Care, a specialty plant nursery, gift shop, overnight lodging, event space and expansive gardens.

  2. Nestled in the Dundee Hills, in 1973 the Durant family was among the first in Oregon to attempt growing wine grapes. First and foremost they are viticulturists who remain true to the block. As founders in the Oregon wine industry, they are most proud of producing fruit for some of the best wineries in Oregon, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes. The family aims to reflect this same tradition and quality in Durant Vineyards wine.

  3. In 2004 the Durant family planted 17 acres of olives, establishing one of the first olive orchards in Oregon. Now with the first, and to date only, commercial olive mill in Oregon, they handcraft signature oils with their own distinctive aromas and flavors, using olives sourced from their own grove and outstanding growers in Northern California. They are home to the only olioteca in the Pacific Northwest. And in addition to their own agronomical experimentation, Red Ridge Farms sells olive trees that fare well in this region. If you’re curious about how to grow olives yourself, download their Olive Tree Guide (PDF).

  4. Farm visitors can meander the beautifully manicured grounds which feature a lovely Lavender field, wisteria covered pergola, Zen fountain and koi pond, and a knot garden with a twisting path of interconnected hedges consisting of aromatic plants and culinary herbs. Of course visitors can also taste and shop the farm’s bounty of products.

  5. Built as a getaway for couples or small groups, the Durant family offers access to two private lodging options, The Garden Suite and Stoneycrest Cottage. With wine and olive oil at the center of every table, the family also hosts a bevy of food and beverage events that celebrate the diversity and complexity of Oregon agriculture, as well as educational classes for gardeners, cooks, olive oil enthusiasts and wine lovers alike.

Cascade is proud to feature this member, owned and operated by a family with deep and lasting connections to the land.


We Know What’s Keeping You Up At Night:
2019 Regional Benefits Survey – Key Findings

By McKenna Arnold, Survey Manager
Cascade Employers Association

Cascade Employers Association is pleased to present key findings from the 2019 Regional Benefits Survey report. Comprised of over 100 benefit-related questions and 343 participating organizations, this survey provides in-depth market benefit data for organizations across Oregon and Washington. From information on paid time off to health plan offerings and retirement plans, this survey has it all.

The exceptional participation from northwest employers resulted in great diversity such as:

Ownership Status

For-Profit: 266 Organizations, 66%
Non-Profit: 106 Organizations, 31%
Public Sector: 11 Organizations, 3%

Organization Size

1 to 24 Employees: 61 Organizations, 18%
25 to 49 Employees: 63 Organizations, 18%
50 to 99 Employees: 90 Organizations, 26%
100 to 149 Employees: 32 Organizations, 9%
150 to 249 Employees: 40 Organizations, 12%
250 to 499 Employees: 32 Organizations, 9%
500 or More Employees: 25 Organizations, 7%

Annual Revenue

Less than $1 Million: 19 Organizations, 6%
$1 Million to $2.9 Million: 44 Organizations, 13%
$3 Million to $9.9 Million: 86 Organizations, 25%
$10 Million to $49.9 Million: 131 Organizations, 38%
$50 Million to $249.9 Million: 48 Organizations, 14%
$250 Million or More: 15 Organizations, 4%

Beyond the data for traditional benefits, this survey also analyzed the business concerns that are keeping people up at night. At the top: Compensation, staying competitive and employee recruitment.

If you want to learn more, you can purchase the full report here.


Hot Compliance Question

By Caitlin Egeck, JD, HR and Compliance Consultant
Cascade Employers Association

Question: An employee complained that a co-worker was "harassing" them about their favorite football team. How should we handle this complaint?

Answer: Come October, football season is in full swing and you are likely hearing football-related chatter in the workplace. However, even well-intentioned jokes and teasing may make some feel uncomfortable and/or offended.

Harassment is a very serious term, although it is also a word that is often casually used by employees. The first rule in handling employee complaints is to treat all complaints seriously, even those that are seemingly minor. You should never ignore a complaint. Repeat: You should never ignore a complaint.

Start by asking the employee what they've done so far regarding this complaint. Have they let the other employee know that it bothers them? If not, why? If yes, to what response? Next, ask them how you can help. How would they like it resolved?

They may just need some help formulating a strategy for approaching the person, or they may be seeking more formal assistance. Asking a few simple questions will let you know whether this complaint can be resolved quickly or if there is potentially more to the issue. Although teasing a co-worker because of their sports team is not illegal harassment (sports teams are not a protected class), it could still violate your company's policy if it interferes with another employee's ability to perform their job.


You Also Might Be Interested In These Recent Great Work! Posts and Other Alerts

By Cascade Staff
Cascade Employers Association

Is Your Salary Market Data Accurate and Valid? Not all data is valid and reliable data. Pay data is a great example of this. Learn more about the dangers of using unreliable sources.

Thinking about getting your HR Certification? Here’s how you can get $75 off!

Need some tips on managing your projects and priorities? Read on to learn how to get stuff done!


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