June 27, 2023
by Matthew Baker

Oregon Legislative Roundup

There was slightly more drama to the 2023 Oregon legislative session than in a typical year, but the session came to a close on June 25, 2023 after the legislature finalized a slate of bills. The workers’ compensation system will be impacted in particular by three new pieces of legislation.

The most significant of the new bills was passed by both the House and Senate and awaits signature by the Governor. HB 3471 bars employers from entering into settlement agreements disposing some or all of a workers’ compensation claim if there is a provision terminating the employment relationship between the employer and the worker or barring the worker from seeking reinstatement or reemployment. Essentially, the bill bans the inclusion of employment releases as part of settlement agreements. Such provisions are still lawful so long as the worker first requests the provision.

During the public comment period, several employers voiced concern that the bill would have a chilling effect on workers’ compensation settlements. It remains to be seen whether the total number of settlements will go down, but the strategy in valuing global claim settlements could be dramatically altered if employment releases are generally dropped as part of agreements.

The impact of this bill will be felt immediately, as it contains an emergency clause and will enter into effect upon signature by the Governor. The details of the “worker first request” clause will likely be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

The second bill impacting the workers’ compensation system is SB 418, which removes the minimum time limit a worker must miss from work in order to be eligible for time-loss. Previously, a worker would have needed to miss four hours or more from work to be eligible for time-loss benefits. This goes into effect on January 1, 2024.

Finally, the legislature passed HB 3412, which allows physicians assistants to provide the same level of care as nurse practitioners (essentially to act as an interim attending physician for a period not to exceed 180 days). This bill is unlikely to have a significant impact on claims processing, as it merely expands the list of non-physicians who can manage claims for a limited time. This bill takes effect on January 1, 2024.

If you have any questions regarding the impact of these new bills, or if you are the midst of negotiating a settlement with an injured worker and are concerned whether certain provisions of the proposed agreement are still valid, please feel free to reach out to me at  or 971-867-2718.

Posted by Matthew Baker.