Quirky Question #264, Oregon Employers: Beware!
Question: I am an employer in Oregon, and I understand Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a whole slew of bills into law on Monday which will directly impact Oregon employers. What do I need to know?
Answer: By Aaron D. Goldstein
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a package of four bills into law on Monday, three of which will directly impact Oregon employers. Specifically, it requires even small employers to give up to 40 hours of paid sick time, “bans the box” to make it illegal to inquire into criminal records before extending an offer of employment, and sets up a voluntary retirement savings program for employees of private employers. The laws are effective on January 1, 2016 (June 16, 2017, for the retirement savings program).
(1) SB 454 requires employers to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. Oregon joins Connecticut, California and Massachusetts as the only states to mandate paid sick time for employees—though several cities, including Seattle and Portland, have already adopted ordinances requiring paid sick leave. The act goes into effect for requests for paid sick time made on or after January 1, 2016.
(2) HB 3025 is Oregon’s “ban the box” legislation—making it illegal for companies to inquire into an applicant’s criminal record prior to an initial interview or to exclude an applicant from an initial interview based upon the applicant’s criminal record. Employers that do not conduct interviews may not consider an applicant’s criminal record before making a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016. This law goes farther than many pieces of “ban the box” legislation in prohibiting employers from even considering criminal records prior to an initial interview, even if the employer did not solicit criminal background information.
(3) HB 2960 establishes a seven-member Oregon Retirement Savings Board, which is directed to develop a contribution retirement plan for employees whose employers don’t provide one. The law sets a target date of June 16, 2017 for employees to begin making contributions to the retirement plans. Employers aren’t required to make contributions to the plans under the law and employees may opt out. However employers should keep any eye out for additional administrative requirements as the law mandates, “whenever possible, use [of] existing employer and public infrastructure to facilitate contributions to the plan, recordkeeping and outreach.”
Stay tuned as these laws come into effect!