Proposed Unemployment Rule May Impact Oregon Employers-Feedback Due by October 21

On September 3, 2020, the Employment Department issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 471-030-0071. The proposed rule (found here) gives the Department the authority during a declared state of emergency or public health emergency to change eligibility requirements to receive unemployment insurance benefits and the authority to make changes to the rate at what such benefits shall be paid.

The proposed rule specifies that the Department shall give public notice of the new requirements to the extent reasonably possible and the public notice shall include the effective dates for the new requirements. Further, the proposed rule clarifies that the new requirements may not extend beyond 90 days from the end of the state of emergency or public health emergency.

This rule change could expand the availability of benefits to people impacted by a declared state of emergency or public health emergency. The adoption of this rule may have a fiscal and economic impact on employers that pay into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and reimbursing employers as it may allow more members of the public to qualify for benefits. Impacted employers include small businesses, state agencies, and units of local government.

Employers who are interested in providing feedback on this rule are welcome to attend the virtual public hearing which will occur on Friday, October 16, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration instructions for the Zoom hearing can be found on the Employment Department’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Conference line information will be provided closer to the public hearing date. Written comments may also be submitted by e-mail to OED_Rules@oregon.gov no later than Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. All comments received will be reviewed and considered before the Department proceeds with the permanent rulemaking.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed rule or would like assistance drafting written comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at rensley@sbhlegal.com or 503-595-6112.