Oregon Employment Law Update – July 2015

Jul 22, 2015


Ban the Box

On June 25, 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 3025) restricting employers from using an applicant’s criminal history record in employment considerations.

The law makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to exclude an applicant from an initial interview based only on the applicant’s past criminal conviction. An employer excludes an applicant from an initial interview if the employer:

  • Requires an applicant to disclose on an employment application a criminal conviction;
  • Requires an applicant to disclose, prior to an initial interview, a criminal conviction; or
  • If no interview is conducted, requires an applicant to disclose, prior to making a conditional offer of employment, a criminal conviction.

Subject to the above, the law does not otherwise prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision.

The requirements listed above do not apply:

  • If federal, state, or local law, including corresponding rules and regulations, requires the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history;
  • To an employer that is a law enforcement agency;
  • To an employer in the criminal justice system; or
  • To an employer seeking a nonemployee volunteer.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

Read 2015 OR H.B. 3025

Paid Sick Leave

On June 22, 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (S.B. 454) that requires employers to provide sick leave for employees.

Pursuant to the law, employers with 10 or more employees are required to implement a paid sick leave policy that allows an employee to accrue and use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Employers with less than 10 employees are required to provide unpaid sick leave. In larger cities, like Portland, with a population exceeding 500,000, employers with at least six employees are required to provide paid sick leave.

Existing employees begin accruing sick leave on January 1, 2016, at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. New employees begin to accrue sick leave immediately upon hire (but may not use it until the 91stcalendar day of employment with the employer).

Employees may carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time into the following year. Employers may adopt a policy that limits employees from accruing no more than 80 hours of sick time and/or using no more than 40 hours of sick time in a year.

Employers that have a sick leave, paid vacation, or paid personal time off policy or other paid time off program substantially equivalent to or more generous than the minimum requirements of the measure’s sick time mandate will be deemed compliant with the law.

Paid sick leave can be used for any of the following reasons:

  • To care for an infant or newly adopted or foster child.
  • To care for a child who needs home care.
  • To make funeral arrangements, attend the funeral, or grieve for a family member who has died.
  • To seek legal or law enforcement assistance to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s dependent.
  • To obtain, or to assist a dependent in obtaining counseling from a licensed mental health professional or services from a victim service provider, or to relocate or take steps to secure an existing home because of an experience of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • To deal with situations in which the employee is excluded from the workplace for health reasons or because of the closure of the employee’s place of business, or closure of the school or place of care of the employee’s dependent, by order of a public official due to a public health emergency.

When sick leave is foreseeable, employers may require reasonable notice of the employee’s intention to use sick leave, not to exceed 10 days prior to the date the sick time is to begin or as soon as otherwise practicable. Employees must make reasonable attempts to schedule the use of sick leave in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

The law goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

Read 2015 OR S.B. 454

State Law Conformity with the Affordable Care Act

On June 22, 2015, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation (H.B. 2466) that aligns Oregon law with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for compliance relating to health benefit plans.

The law:

  • Specifies that coordination of benefit requirements apply to all group plans.
  • Adds provisions allowing exemptions from some requirements of the ACA for transitional large employer health benefit plans and transitional grandfathered large employer health benefit plans.
  • Allows the director, by rule, to extend operative provisions related to transitional large employer health benefit plans.
  • Clarifies requirements and applicability of requirements to actively market a group health benefit plan.
  • Allows the director of Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to specify criteria for small employer for purposes of determining eligibility for small or large employer health benefit plans.
  • Makes the following technical changes necessary to conform with the ACA:
    • Catastrophic plans must be offered in and out of exchange.
    • Removes references to credible coverage.
    • Changes language relating to waiting periods and exclusionary periods to conform with federal requirements.
    • Clarifies that pre-existing conditions can still be imposed on grandfathered individual or transitional health benefit plans, but not group plans, and removes a reporting provision.

The law went into effect upon signing.