New I-9 Verification Form - Effective 1/22/17

U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  This revised form must be used with all newly hired employees as of January 22, 2017.   Please be sure to replace your old I-9 form with the new version prior to that date.   You do not need to have current employees fill out the new form, but it does need to be used with new hires going forward.  Remember to ensure that all new employees fill out the I-9 form on the first day of employment, and present appropriate verification identification within 3 business days. 

Click HERE to download the new Form I-9

Washington Minimum Wage 2017

Minimum wage for the state of Washington will increase to $11.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2017.  An initiative passed in November 2016 will require that the minimum wage increases over the next few years until it reaches $13.50 per hour in 2020.  The initiative also allows paid sick time provisions which will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

UPDATE

On November 22, 2016 a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction essentially blocking the change from going into effect nationwide.  This means that employers DO NOT need to meet the new minimum salary threshold for exempt employees as of December 1, 2016.   

What does this mean for employers?

·         Exempt employees still need to meet the current minimum salary threshold of $23,660 per year, and need to meet the classification standards outlined by the FLSA. 

·         The increased salary threshold may be implemented later.  Or, the new rules may be cancelled altogether.  Or, a new set of FLSA standards may be implemented.  We just don’t know at this point.

·         Remember that you are always able to classify an employee as non-exempt, thus making them eligible for overtime.  If you had converted employees to non-exempt status in anticipation of the rule change you are welcome to keep them in that status.  Or, you could choose to reclassify them as exempt if you feel they meet the current FLSA standards.

Click HERE to read the preliminary injunction and court order

Updated Overtime & Exempt Status Changes - ON HOLD

Update

The Department of Labor was to enact new FLSA exempt standards as of December 1, 2016.  The most significant aspect of this change was to be an increase in the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees to $47,476 per year.

On November 22, 2016 a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction essentially blocking the change from going into effect nationwide.  This means that employers DO NOT need to meet the new minimum salary threshold for exempt employees as of December 1, 2016.   

What does this mean for employers?

·         Exempt employees still need to meet the current minimum salary threshold of $23,660 per year, and need to meet the classification standards outlined by the FLSA. 

·         The increased salary threshold may be implemented later.  Or, the new rules may be cancelled altogether.  Or, a new set of FLSA standards may be implemented.  We just don’t know at this point.

·         Remember that you are always able to classify an employee as non-exempt, thus making them eligible for overtime.  If you had converted employees to non-exempt status in anticipation of the rule change you are welcome to keep them in that status.  Or, you could choose to reclassify them as exempt if you feel they meet the current FLSA standards.

Click HERE to read the preliminary injunction and court order

 

Oregon Minimum Wage - Effective July 1, 2016

Update:  July 1, 2016 Minimum Wage Poster from BOLI is now available.  Please place this poster in an area accessible to all employees.

The first of a series of Oregon minimum wage increases will occur on July 1, 2016, with annual increases scheduled annually through 2022.   Here is a list of the scheduled increases going into effect this July 1, 2016 for each region. 

Portland Metro:  $9.75  per hour (All employers located within the Portland urban growth boundary)

Standard Counties:   $9.75 per hour (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill Counties)

Non-Urban Counties:  $9.50 per hour (Malheur, Lake, Harney, Wheeler, Sherman, Gilliam, Wallowa, Grant, Jefferson, Baker, Union, Crook, Klamath, Douglas, Coos, Curry, Umatilla and Morrow Counties)

Use this link to see a schedule of all increases through 2022, and to use a look up tool to determine if your business is located within the Portland Urban Growth Boundary:

http://www.oregon.gov/boli/WHD/OMW/Pages/Minimum-Wage-Rate-Summary.aspx

 

Updated Overtime & Exempt Status Rules - Effective December 1, 2016

After over two years of waiting and speculation, the Department of Labor has issued new rules on exempt criteria.   Effective December 1, 2016, the new minimum salary threshold for exempt employees will be $47,476 per year.  If employees receive at least this amount in compensation, then you can consider if they meet the administrative, executive or professional exemption criteria and can be paid on a salaried basis. 

If an employee does not meet the new criteria standards they cannot be classified as exempt.  Employees who don’t meet the exemption standards must be considered non-exempt and are eligible for overtime pay.  Here is what you need to do to prepare for this significant change:

·         Review currently salaried employees to determine if they meet exempt classification criteria and minimum salary requirement.

·         If a current salaried employee does not meet the standards you have these options:

o   Raise the employee’s pay to at least $47,476 per year (assuming that they meet administrative, professional or executive criteria)

o   Convert the employee to non-exempt status.  Track hours and pay for actual hours worked and overtime for any hours worked over 40 in the work week.

o   Convert the employee to salaried non-exempt status.  Continue to pay the regular salary, track hours and pay overtime for any hours worked over 40 in the workweek.   

·         It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure salaried exempt employees meet the new requirements by December 1, 2016

 

Department of Labor - New Rules:

https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime

 

City of Portland "Ban-the-Box" Ordinance - Effective July 1, 2016

The City of Portland has passed expanded “Ban-the-Box” legislation, which goes into effect July 1, 2016.  This new Ordinance applies to:

·         Employers with 6 or more employees AND

·         at least one individual working the majority of the time in the City of Portland

The new Ordinance prohibits Portland employers from soliciting or processing criminal background information from applicants before a “conditional offer of employment” is made.  Once the offer is submitted, employers may conduct criminal background checks and must then make an “Individualized Assessment” of the history considering the nature and gravity of the criminal offense, the time that has elapsed since the criminal offense took place, the nature of the employment held or sought.  There are exceptions in place for employees working with sensitive populations and other heightened safety concerns. 

If you are Portland employer conducting criminal background checks, here’s what you need to do: 

·         Make sure you have eliminated “do you have a criminal history” type questions from applications & interview processes

·         Ensure you are using written offer letters, with language specifying conditional offer requirements

·         Address criminal history results on a case by case bases, using the Individualized Assessment guidelines

·         If an offer of employment is rescinded due to criminal history, notify the applicant in writing with specifics regarding the reason for the decision

 

City of Portland Ordinance Memo & FAQs: 

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/555053

 

Oregon Minimum Wage - Effective July 1, 2016

The first of a series of Oregon minimum wage increases will occur on July 1, 2016, with annual increases scheduled annually through 2022.   Here is a list of the scheduled increases going into effect this July 1, 2016 for each region. 

Portland Metro:  $9.75  per hour (All employers located within the Portland urban growth boundary)

Standard Counties:   $9.75 per hour (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill Counties)

Non-Urban Counties:  $9.50 per hour (Malheur, Lake, Harney, Wheeler, Sherman, Gilliam, Wallowa, Grant, Jefferson, Baker, Union, Crook, Klamath, Douglas, Coos, Curry, Umatilla and Morrow Counties)

Use this link to see a schedule of all increases through 2022, and to use a look up tool to determine if your business is located within the Portland Urban Growth Boundary:

http://www.oregon.gov/boli/WHD/OMW/Pages/Minimum-Wage-Rate-Summary.aspx

 

Oregon - Updated OFLA Poster

An updated Oregon Family Medical Leave poster, effective January 2016 is now available.  OFLA eligible employers (25 employees or more) should ensure this updated poster is placed in an area accessible to all employees.

OFLA Poster - Effective January 2016

 

Washington - Updated Job Safety & Health Poster

Washington L&I has recently updated the required Job Safety & Health poster.  Washington employers should ensure that this poster is placed in an area accessible to all employees. 

Job Safety & Health Law Poster

 

OREGON PROTECTED SICK TIME

Oregon Protected Sick Time will go into effect on January 1, 2016.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Employers with 10 or more workers are required to provide paid sick leave for all Oregon employees.  (City of Portland employers must still provide paid sick leave if they have 6 or more employees).
  • Employees are entitled to accrue 1 hour for every 30 hours worked (equivalent of 1.33 hours for each 40 hours worked), up to 40 hours per year.  Employers can cap use of paid sick leave at 40 hours per year.
  • Employers must allow employees to roll over up to 40 hours of unused sick time from year to year, UNLESS they opt to “front load” 40 hours per year and pay out unused time at the end of each year.  Employers are allowed to cap total accrual at 80 hours.
  •  Employees can begin accruing sick time at time of hire, and are allowed to start using paid sick time after 90 days of employment.
  • This rule applies to ALL employees, full time, part time and temporary.  (The 240 hour rule from Portland Sick Time Off has been eliminated).
  • PTO plans (time off available for sick or vacation) count towards Oregon Protected Sick Time.  You do not need to add additional sick time off if your current plan meets the requirements.
  • Sick time does not need to be paid out at time of termination, unless you have a policy in place otherwise.
  • Employees can take sick time in one hour increments, unless the business meets certain conditions.
  • Businesses with less than 10 employees (or 6 in Portland) must make an equivalent amount of time off available to all employees, but it may be unpaid. 

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE:

  • Make sure your policies adhere to Oregon Protected Sick Time requirements, as of January 1, 2016.
  • Provide each employee notice of their current balance at least quarterly. You can easily meet this requirement if you can print current time off balances on employee paychecks.
  • Check out the BOLI FAQ page by clicking here.
  • Print and display or distribute the Oregon Sick Time Notification to all Oregon employees to notify them of their rights.

 

2016 Washington Minimum Wage

 

The Washington Minimum Wage will remain at $9.47 per hour.  Please post this notice in a location accessible to all employees.