Rebecca Watkins

Registration now open for OEC fall conference.

rebecca_watkinsThe Fall OEC conference will take place October 5th & 6th at Spirit Mountain Casino. Programming includes training on wage and hour, safety rules, employee retention, LGBT issues in the workplace, and a panel on Workforce Issues with participants from BOLI, Community Colleges and Workforce Developmant, and the Oregon Employment Department. Jeanne Atkins, Oregon’s new Secretary of State, will also be speaking. Early bird registration has begun via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oregon-employer-council-fall-conference-tickets-17768927340 The Oregon Employment Council is a nonprofit, employer-centered organization focues on partnerships between Oregon businesses and government agencies. All Oregon businesses can join and have a voice in local resources. If you want to learn more about the OEC, check out its website at http://oec.org/  

Oregon Enacts Paid Sick Time Law

rebecca_watkinsGovernor Brown signed HB 454 into law on June 22, 2015, making Oregon the fourth state to pass a state wide paid sick leave statute. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016 and will preempt the Portland and Eugene city laws. Under Oregon’s law, employers will be obligated to provide all employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave time. With a few exceptions, employers with 10+ employees, will have to provide paid sick leave time. (A notable carve out in the law exempts certain construction trade union employees.) Sick time can be used for the employee’s or the employee’s family members’ illness, doctor visits, public health emergencies, or any reason allowed under… Continue reading

Eugene Sick Leave Ordinance Scheduled to Go Into Effect on July 1, 2015 Postponed

rebecca_watkinsThe City of Eugene passed a sick leave law last July that was originally scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2015. This law (similar to one in Portland) requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees who work in Eugene. The law expressly excludes employees in building/construction industries who are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Sick time accrual will begin January 1, 2016 or at hire, whichever is later. Employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours. A PTO policy that provides equal or greater benefits meets the requirements of this law. The… Continue reading

OSHA issues guidance on transgender bathrooms

rebecca_watkinsOn June 1st, OSHA issued a new guide for employers regarding restroom access for transgender employees. The guide falls under OSHA’s sanitation standard that requires employers to provide toilet facilities – a standard that recognizes adverse health effects from the lack of such facilities. OSHA set out a model practice that would protect all employees’ access to prompt and appropriate facilities, based on a belief that employees should have the ability to use facilities corresponding to their gender identity. OSHA instructs that employees should not have to use a special facility apart from options available to other employees because of their gender identity. Employees also should not be asked to “prove” their gender identity. The… Continue reading

Court of Appeals clarifies compensability analysis for medical services.

rebecca_watkinsBy: Rebecca Watkins This month, SBH received favorable decisions from the Court of Appeals in two cases addressing compensability of medical services under ORS 656.245(1). In Vukasin v Liberty NW (May 13, 2015), the worker had a 2000 ankle injury with several accepted and denied conditions. In 2009, she had surgery that addressed, in part, synovitis and peroneal tendonitis, both diagnoses that had been accepted under the previous claim. Vukasin argued that because these were accepted conditions, the Board had no choice but to find the surgery compensable – it lacked authority to find they had resolved. The Court of Appeals disagreed and held the Board could find on the record that the prior synovitis and peroneal… Continue reading

Highest State Court finds PERS reform unconstitutional

rebecca_watkins By: Rebecca Watkins In a decision issued April 30th, the Oregon Supreme Court struck down a key provision of 2013 legislation concerning the Public Employees Retirement System. The legislature reduced cost of living adjustments (COLA) for current PERS retirees to cut costs. In a decision that many predicted, the Court held that the legislature could not rescind a promise already made to retirees – to do so would violate the Contract Clause of the state constitution. It did note that prospective changes to COLA (for employment after the date of the legislative change) was allowed. In reaching its unanimous decision, the Court rejected arguments that an important public purpose (cost savings) justified the change. It… Continue reading

Join SBH at the WCCA Spring Education Conference

rebecca_watkinsBy: Rebecca Watkins Come join us Tuesday April 14, 2015 in Wilsonville for the WCCA Spring Education Conference. Presenters will cover topics such as investigations, job description, chronic pain therapies, and common orthopedic injuries. Kevin Anderson and I will be presenting with Sheri Sundstrom from Hoffman Construction regarding the recent changes in claim closure and combined conditions due to the Brown and Schleiss cases. We will review the WCD’s new claim closure and apportionment rules, discuss recent case decisions, and provide some insight into what the legislature might do this session. Feel free to contact us with any questions, or bring them to conference too! The deadline to register for the event is Tuesday, April 7. … Continue reading

DMEC Quarterly Roundtable Tomorrow

By: Rebecca Watkins rebecca watkins Do FMLA & ADA issues frustrate you? DMEC hosts quarterly roundtables for employers and HR professionals to come together and discuss the tricky aspects of employee leave and accommodation. Join us tomorrow! The roundtable takes place at Kaiser Permanente Town Hall on January 14th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Register for free at http://dmec.org/2014/12/08/2015-chapter-mtg-oregon-jan/. Lunch is provided.  

Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule Changes

rebecca watkinsBy: Rebecca Watkins The proposed changes include a number of “housekeeping” items that simply update language or make it consistent throughout the rules, and to implement a reorganization of BOLI. Among more substantive changes, there are proposed rules pertaining to retaliation under the Oregon Safe Employment Act (division 4), discrimination by career schools (division 5), and whistleblowing for public employers (division 10). Of wider interest to employers, BOLI proposes the following changes: Discrimination based on current employment status. Employers are prohibited from posting or advertising that a requirement of a job is current employment. The rule allows for civil penalties against employers or employment agencies violating the rule. Temporary impairments & disability. Proposed OAR… Continue reading

Upcoming Work Sessions for Oregon Employers

rebecca watkinsThe Oregon Employment Department and various workforce groups are hosting forums throughout the state in March and April to gather employer input. The goal is to determine what state-wide and local needs exist and how best to deliver state resources. Here are the upcoming dates: March 18 @ Seaside, OR March 19 @ Florence, OR March 20 @ Salem, OR April 3 @ Wilsonville, OR April 9 @ LaGrande, OR April 14 @ Medford, OR April 16 @ Redmond, OR April 22 @ Eugene, OR Worksystems, Inc. is partnering with other local workforce investment boards and the Oregon Employment Department in hosting a series of strategy sessions across Oregon to identify how the state’s workforce system can be… Continue reading