2021 Oregon Legislative Session Overview

Capitol Hill in Washington DC

The Oregon Legislative Assembly’s current session ended on Saturday, June 26, 2021, with several bills creating notable changes for Oregon employers.  The following is a list of the relevant bills that have been signed into law by the Governor.

HB 3389 – Changes to Unemployment Taxes

Employers in good standing with a rate increase of 0.5% or more may defer up to one-third of their 2021 tax obligation without accruing interest or penalties until June 30, 2022.  Additionally, 2021 and 2022 are not included in the lookback period and the experience rating used to determine 2020 tax rate will be used in 2022, 2023, and 2024.  Pending the governor’s signature, this law takes effect on September 26, 2021.

SB 569 – Driver’s License as Condition of Employment

Prohibits an employer from requiring an employee or prospective employee to present a valid driver’s license as a condition of employment unless the ability to legally drive is an essential function of the position or is related to a legitimate business purpose.  This law takes effect on January 1, 2022.

SB 169 – Noncompetition Agreements

This new law changes the length of time a noncompetition is valid, as well as some of the qualifying criteria for the employer, employee, and the contract itself.  This law takes effect on January 1, 2022.

HB 2474 – Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) Amendments

  • Allows employees who have a break in service due to termination or temporary furlough or layoff of 180 days or less to retain their OFLA eligibility and count time prior to break in service to overall break in service.
  • Expands eligibility of OFLA during a public health emergency to employees working at least 30 days immediately prior to taking leave (reduced from 180 days) and an average of 25 hours or more per week during those 30 days.
  • Expands the definition of sick child leave to include providing home care to the employee’s child due to the closure of the child’s school or child care provider as a result of a public health emergency and allows for certain employer verification.
  • Clarifies that pregnancy disability leave may be taken by “an eligible employee” rather than “a female eligible employee.”   These changes take effect on January 1, 2022.

HB 3389 – Delayed Implementation of Oregon’s Paid Family Leave Program

The deadline for the Employment Department Director to adopt rules for Oregon’s Paid Family Medical Leave Program (OPFMLP) is moved from September 1, 2021, to September 1, 2022.  As a result of this change, subsequent dates relating to progress reports and reviews of implementation and costs have been pushed back accordingly.  Pending the governor’s signature, this law takes effect September 26, 2022.

OSHA Cease Enforcement of The Mask & Physical Distancing Requirements For Employers

Employees Social Distanced at a Desk

Oregon Osha

Oregon OSHA has indicated that it will cease enforcement of the mask and physical distancing requirements as soon as the Executive Order goes into effect (either at 12:01 am on June 30, 2021, or when OHA announces that the 70% threshold has been reached, whichever is earlier). Continue reading “OSHA Ceases Mask & Physical Distancing Enforcement”

The Value of Appreciation

coffee and thank you card on table

Appreciating your employees is one of the keys to business success. Studies have shown that happy employee’s produce higher quality work, treat customers better, and are more likely to stay at their jobs. Employees who feel valued will continue to grow and deliver success to your business.

However, you may not always know if an employee feels valued or not. Below will help define if employees are feeling their value. It is important to know the differences between happy and just existing employees. This article touches on how employee’s feeling of being valued can shift to burnout. Continue reading “The Value of Appreciation”

What is the Difference Between An Employee & An Independent Contractor? 

Employee vs Independent contractor

When you have anybody who works for you there is always paperwork involved. Tax forms, contracts, non-disclosure agreements … the list goes on and on. But there are rules on how you pay that person and what paperwork you need to collect. Continue reading “Know The Difference of An Employee & An Independent Contractor”

Can an employer Terminate Employees Who Are Scared to Return to the Office?

empty office

That All Depends

“If the employee is just generally scared of the virus, the employee is unlikely to have a legally defensible excuse for refusing to work,” said Janell Stanton, an attorney with Wagner, Falconer & Judd in Minneapolis. “In that case, discipline including termination may well be appropriate.” Continue reading “Can an Employer Terminate Employees”

The What & WHY of an Employment background verification?

Organizational Assets & Values are only as strong as the people who abide by them

With that being said, most jobs or careers it is vital that employers check out their job candidates. A resume and applicant can state anything they choose, so it becomes pivotal to look a bit deeper.

Background verification is a process in which many organizations undertake to review the information provided by the candidate when hiring. This includes a variety of checks that the employer will pass through your education records, past employer details,
identity verification, criminal offenses and address verification. Depending on the nature and extent of the background requested by your prospective employer, an average employment background check will generally take two to four business days to complete. Continue reading “Background Checks”