A number of changes have hit the State of Oregon this past
week, affecting a wide range of individuals. Oregon’s minimum wage increased
this past Monday, and on Sunday, Oregon legislators passed a bill that will
make the state the eighth in the nation to offer paid family and medical leave.
Oregon Minimum Wage Increase
July 1st marked the increase of Oregon’s minimum wage which increased by fifty cents to $11.25. Workers in the Portland-Metro area will see the minimum wage increase to $12.50, with the minimum wage in non-urban counties rising to $11 per hour. This is the fourth increase to the state’s minimum wage that Oregon has seen in the last four years.
The minimum wage increase was part of Senate Bill 1532, a
three-tier minimum wage system that was passed in 2016 which locked in annual
increases to the minimum wage through 2022, at which time the minimum wage will
cap at $14.75 in the Portland-Metro area. After this time, any increases to the
state’s minimum wage will be directly tied to inflation.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
On Sunday, June 30th, Senators in Oregon voted 21-6 to send House Bill 2005 to the governor, which proposes paid family and medical leave to workers who make more than $1,000 a year 12 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons. An incredibly generous program, this is the first paid leave program in the country which would offer 100% paid leave to low-income workers.
Employees and businesses will be required to contribute to this
program, with small businesses being exempt from contributions. Workers will
expect to see this benefit take effect in 2023.
HRCentral will reach out to our clients individually if and when these updates affect their organization. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding either of these recent updates!
Looking back on the situation regarding Diane and her illness which caused attendance issues, we know now that when Diane disclosed to her supervisor that her problems with attendance were due to a mental health illness and the medication she was taking, the appropriate process wasn’t necessarily followed with regards to seeing if Diane qualified or required a reasonable accommodation or a leave of absence. Granted, it was Diane’s responsibility to request a reasonable accommodation, but when a supervisor is made aware of a situation, the right questions need to be asked.
How do you know what applies and what questions to ask? In situations that warrant a serious health condition (whether that be physical or mental) or a disability, there are typically three types of protections that may apply to the employee:
- Federal (the Family and Medical Leave Act) – The FMLA typically applies to organizations with 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius and warrants job protection for up to 12 weeks;
- State (in Oregon we have the Oregon Family Leave Act) – At the state level, leaves of absence typically run concurrently with the FMLA, but the eligibility requirements may differ (for example, in Oregon organizations with over 25 employees are required to comply); and
- Disability Protection (the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA) – Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, ensuring that they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else (such as providing them with a reasonable accommodation to enable them to perform the essential functions of their job).
Managing employees often means managing your department while they are out and ensuring the employee’s time off is protected or calculated correctly. It is important that managers and supervisors understand which leave protections apply to their organization, how they work, and what both the employer’s and employee’s rights and responsibilities are before, during, and after a leave of absence or period of disability.
This is where we step in! Leave Administration is something that HRCentral specializes in. We understand that your time and resources are valuable to your organization, which is why we work with your HR department and your management team to take as much of this process off your plate as we can. In addition to administering this process for you, we offer Leave Administration management training, educating your supervisors in the different types of leaves, who is responsible for what, and how to identify the need for a leave of absence or a reasonable accommodation.
Contact us today to see how we can work together to make this process as seamless for your Company as possible!
In our last Nuts-and-Bolts post, we discussed the proposed rules that the EEOC recently published that pertain to the application of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) to wellness programs that employers offer their employees.
It is important that employers and managers stay abreast of the constantly changing and evolving rules and regulations that apply to leave management and administration to ensure compliance. A very important aspect of leave administration is what you as an employer are permitted to say, and more importantly, what you are not permitted to say when dealing with a disability-related leave of absence. (more…)