It has been a busy year in the Oregon legislature, but there has been only one major change to the statutes governing workers’ compensation. Senate Bill 507 creates a new presumption of compensability for certain mental health claims filed by first responders working for public entities. If a claim does not meet all of the criteria in the new law, the worker can still pursue a mental health claim under ORS 656.802(3) without the use of the presumption. Here are the key points of the new law: Only applies to public employers; Only applies to listed professions; Employees can file injury claim on first day of job, but requires 5 years of employment for an occupational disease; Covers employees for… Continue reading
SBH is hosting its 17th annual Oregon Claims Professional Workshop on November 2, 2017 at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville. Covered topics include lessons in investigations, the intersection of Oregon workers’ compensation and employment leave laws, issues related to the “course & scope” of employment, dealing with concussions and post-concussion syndrome, an update on Oregon appellate decisions, strategies for Job Descriptions and Functional Capacity Evaluations, and an informative session with DCBS advisors. For more information on attending SBH University, click here.
Are you an employer who offers paid family and/or medical leave? If so, you may qualify for a tax credit for tax years 2018 and 2019. Depending on how much you pay an employee while on family or medical leave, you may be able to claim between a 12.5% – 25% credit for the wages you paid to the employee during the leave. See 26 USC §45S. The IRS recently issued Notice 2018-71, which provides guidance for employers who want to claim the credit. Many employers I work with have a PTO policy that groups various types of leave into one big leave bank. The Notice clarifies whether an employer can claim the credit for an employee taking leave for… Continue reading
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (“BOLI”) recently issued proposed rules implementing the Oregon Equal Pay Law, most provisions of which take effect on January 1, 2019. The full text of the proposed rules is available on the BOLI web site here. Comparable Character The Equal Pay Law prohibits employers from compensating any employee at a rate greater than that at which the employer pays wages or other compensation to employees of a protected class for work of comparable character. BOLI’s proposed rules define “work of comparable character” as work that includes “substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.” E.g., “knowledge considerations may include, but are not limited to: certifications, licenses and certificates;… Continue reading
Sather, Byerly & Holloway, LLP is pleased to announce Rebecca Watkins is a partner effective July 1, 2018. Rebecca manages the firm’s appellate department. She advises employers on policy development and employment decisions. She also represents Oregon and Washington clients in court before administrative agencies on disputes relating to wage and hour, discrimination, personal injury, leave laws, and workers’ compensation. Rebecca is a valued member of our firm and we are excited to announce this addition to our partnership. Please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca at (503) 595-2134 for any employment related needs.
Please join me on October 6, 2017 as I present with other panelists in a live webinar to discuss Washington’s new Paid Family & Medical Leave Insurance law. The webinar will discuss Washington’s newly adopted paid family leave insurance program including the origin of the law, the obligations on employers, benefits to employees, and options for self-insurers as well as interactions with workers’ compensation and other disability programs. The webinar will give you a better understanding of the new law and a chance to ask any questions before the state begins to collect premiums in 2019. This live webinar takes place on October 6th from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. You can register here. If you have any questions… Continue reading
As of October 1, 2017 any use of mobile devices will be prohibited while driving in Oregon. Like the law in Washington, which went into effect this summer, the new Oregon law prohibits drivers from holding or touching their mobile devices or using any function of the phone while driving or sitting in traffic. Here’s what you need to know. Drivers are prohibited from holding their device or touching it for more than a single touch or swipe to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function on the device. The law applies to all mobile devices including cell phones, tablets, laptops, and GPS devices. The law does exempt use of an electronic device to contact emergency services as long as no… Continue reading
Hopefully you are reading this blog post from the safety of your computer and not while driving. If you are using your cell phone to read this while on your morning commute, you could be violating a newly passed Washington Law. Governor Jay Inslee signed a measure that will prohibit Washington drivers from holding an electronic device while driving. Current law in Washington only prohibits texting or holding a phone to the ear while driving. The expanded law prohibits drivers from holding an electronic device while driving, including while in traffic or waiting for a traffic light. This means, no checking Facebook, no reading or sending emails, or using apps. Drivers are allowed to minimally use a finger to activate,… Continue reading
Lauren Oda will be presenting with orthopaedic surgeon Scott Kitchel, M.D. at four WSIA Region Meetings in April. Lauren and Dr. Kitchel will discuss common orthopaedic injuries of the spine and various mechanisms of injuries. The presentation will also discuss strategies for writing clear and concise IME cover letters to obtain persuasive IME reports. Information on the meetings is below. Tuesday, April 4, 2017 8:00 AM- 9:45 AM WSIA Office • 828 7th Avenue Southeast • Olympia, WA 98501 Tuesday, April 4, 2017 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Valley Medical Center • Medical Arts Center MAC A • 400 S. 43rd Street Renton, Washington 98055 Tuesday, April 25, 2017 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM US Bancorp Tower • Training Room… Continue reading
The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board passed revised attorney fee rules on October 13, 2016. The most significant changes involve increased attorney fees for disputed claims settlements and claims disposition agreements. The Board increased attorney fees on Disputed Claim Settlements and Claims Disposition Agreements. Previously attorneys were awarded 25% of the first $17,500 of the settlement process plus 10% of any amount of proceeds in excess. The Board revised the rules to allow 25% of the first $50,000 of the settlement proceeds plus 10% of any amount of proceeds in excess of $50,000. The Board also increased the amount of attorney fees received in PPD and PTD cases. Previously awards were limited to 25% of increased compensation not to exceed… Continue reading