Join Me at the 17th Annual SBH Oregon Claims Professional Workshop

brian perkoSBH 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.

Benefit to Employers Who Offer Paid Family Leave

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

BOLI issues proposed rules for Equal Pay Law

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

October Event: Employer Disability & Leave Roundtable

KAISER PERMANENTE AND SATHER, BYERLY & HOLLOWAY EMPLOYEE DISABILITY AND LEAVE ROUNDTABLE Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018 Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Where: Kaiser Permanente- Town Hall Ballroom (3704 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR 97227) Cost: Free – Lunch provided Kaiser Permanente and Sather Byerly & Holloway are sponsoring a work group for Oregon and Washington employers related to leave management. This open-forum roundtable will allow employers to bring their questions and share their insights on how to address various disability and leave requirements under state, federal or local laws. Mike Moses, ADA Manager at Kaiser Permanente, and Rebecca Watkins, attorney at Sather Byerly & Holloway LLP, will lead the group in problem-solving discussions… Continue reading

Sather, Byerly & Holloway Welcomes New Partner

  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.

Predictive scheduling: What is it and does it apply to my company?

In a nutshell, Oregon’s new law requires certain employers to provide advance schedules for their employees and imposes penalties for last minute changes. SB 828 went into effect on July 1st and BOLI recently issued final rules for the new law, found here. Does it apply to my company? The law applies to retail, hospitality and food service establishments that employ 500 or more employees worldwide. This includes chains and – a more tricky concept – integrated enterprises. If your company operations overlap with another corporate entity (think parent, subsidiary, franchisor, general contractor) then take a look at the factors that determine if the companies would be considered an “integrated enterprise.” Those factors include: Interrelation of operations of the… Continue reading

New Washington Law: First Responder Presumption

On June 7, 2018 the First Responder Presumption, House Bill SB 6214 became law and changed the way workers and employers approach mental health claims filed by firefighters and law enforcement officers throughout the state of Washington. Before the First Responder Presumption, all workers, including first responders, were typically prevented from filing a claim for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an occupational disease. The new law changes this rule and carves out an exception for first responders. Now, when a firefighter or law enforcement officer files a claim for PTSD, it is presumed to be an occupational disease unless the employer proves otherwise. In other words, the new law shifts the burden of proof to the employer, who is now… Continue reading

Oregon Minimum Wage Increases on July 1, 2018

The next annual rate increase for minimum wage goes into effect on July 1, 2018. The standard rate increases to $10.75 per hour. Those in the Portland Metro area increase to $12.00 per hour and for non-urban counties, the rate increases to $10.50 per hour. If you are not sure which category you fall into, check out BOLI’s website here for a link to the Portland Metro urban growth boundary and a county-by-county map of rates. If you have any questions regarding which rate you are obligated to pay, please contact me directly at (503) 595-2134.

New Average Weekly Wage Calculation Rules

The Workers’ Compensation Division recently issued new rules for calculating average weekly wage. The new rules will apply to claims with dates of injury on or after February 21, 2018. Under the new rule: When a worker is paid irregular wages and there is an increase or decrease in the worker’s pay rate in the previous 52 weeks before the injury/occupational disease, this will not constitute a “new wage earning agreement.” The insurer must calculate the worker’s average weekly hours worked at each pay rate since the last wage earning agreement (not to exceed 52 weeks). The average hours at each pay rate will then be multiplied by the pay rate at the time of injury/occupational disease. Any irregular… Continue reading

Court of Appeals Case Reaffirms Objective Evidence Required For Reopening

In Hendrickson v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., the Washington Division One Court of Appeals reaffirmed what evidence must support a reopening application. Claimant injured her middle and lower back in October 2007. The Department closed her claim in May 2012 with a category 4 dorso-lumbar impairment award. Just prior to claim closure, claimant complained to Dr. Martin she was “having ongoing pain all over.” In September 2013, claimant filed a reopening application, which the Department denied in February 2014. Claimant appealed. At hearing, claimant’s medical expert, Dr. Martin, testified that claimant’s cervical and lumbar MRI scans taken prior to claim closure and those taken in 2014 “were essentially unchanged” and there were “no objective findings of worsening” in claimant’s… Continue reading