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Join Sarah Ewing in WSIA’s Webinar Discussing the New Paid Family & Medical Leave Law

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

Oregon’s Distracted Driving Law Goes into Effect October 1

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

Washington passes strict distracted driving law

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

Join SBH Attorney Lauren Oda at WSIA Region Meetings

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

Board’s new attorney fee rules go into effect on November 1.

vaniman-megan-colorThe 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

Join SBH at the DMEC ADAAA/Family Leave Roundtable

rebecca_watkinsPlease join me on Wednesday April 6, 2016 at the DMEC ADAAA/Family Leave Roundtable. This is a great opportunity for employers to bring questions and share ideas about ADA and Family leave. This is an open forum with a focus on problem solving. I will be there to discuss legal aspects and case law related to the ADA and Family leave. The event is free. Please register in advance here.

New Bill Alters Timeline for Initial Time Loss Payment

Vaniman-Megan_160-x-222On January 1, 2016, House Bill 2797 went into effect, modifying when initial temporary disability payments must be made. Prior to January 1, 2016, if there was medical authorization for payment of time loss benefits, the insurer was required to begin paying benefits no later than 14 days after the employer had knowledge of the claim. House Bill 2797 amends ORS 656.262(4)(a) and adds another layer to when the 14 day timeline begins. The bill provides that the first payment of time loss benefits is due no later than 14 days after the employer has knowledge of both the claim and the worker’s disability. The attending physician must still authorize temporary disability. The purpose of the bill is to more… Continue reading

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/  

LHWCA Caselaw Update

norman coleOver the last three months there have been several noteworthy decisions under the Longshore and Harbors Workers’ Compensation Act. In M.K. v. California United Terminals, 2009 WL 525237 (BRB 08-0392, 08-0450, 08-0606, 2009), the Board held the ILWU-PMA’s §17 lien claims and all claims for reimbursement of medical expenses under §7 must be resolved simultaneously with settlement agreements entered into by the claimants and their employers. Following M.K., attorneys for the ILWU-PMA Welfare Plan have intervened with greater frequency, seeking reimbursement of indemnity and medical services and payment of attorney fees. In Hunt v. Director, OWCP, 999 F.2d 4129 (9th Cir. 1993), the 9th Circuit held a medical services provider was a “person seeking benefits” and, therefore, was entitled… Continue reading

Up in smoke? What Measure 91 means for your Employment Policy

Evenson, Andrew_167x222On July 1, 2015, Measure 91 goes into effect in Oregon, signifying recreational marijuana’s legality statewide. Of course, its “legality” comes with several limitations. Measure 91 allows Oregonians to grow limited amounts of marijuana on their property, to possess up to eight ounces of usable marijuana in their homes, and to possess up to one ounce on their person while in public. However, smoking marijuana publically remains prohibited, and the use or possession of recreational marijuana by anyone under the age of 21 remains illegal. That includes home consumption. So, how does Measure 91 affect Oregon employers? It remains to be seen how the Act will affect current case law in Oregon, although a look at… Continue reading
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