• Department of Labor (DOL) Proposes Overtime Threshold Increase

The DOL proposed an update to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary threshold, which would lead to an increase in the number of employees eligible for overtime. Currently, employees who make under $455 per week have to be paid overtime for any and all hours worked over 40 during a workweek. The proposed change would bump the threshold from $455 to $679. The FLSA set up rules to determine employees who are exempt form the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. In order to be exempt, an employees primary job duties must fall under the executive, administrative, or professional categories set out by the FSLA and the employee must meet a specific salary threshold (as identified above). This would only change the salary threshold, but would not affect the current job duty requirements.

  • Foundation to Combat Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched Sharing Solutions, a one-step resource to help the business community to help the opioid crisis. The Chamber Foundation includes the launch of the resource hub for businesses, a nationally recognized substance abuse expert advising the campaign, and a tour of ten hard-hit communities with workshops and broader community education. In addition to resources, this new resource shares best practices of companies taking action to address the crisis through changes in business process, employee engagement, applying core competencies, and community engagement. The interactive site includes engagement functionality so that users can truly share their solutions and build on available resources as a community. For more information on this resource, please visit: https://sharingsolutions.us

  • Cap and Trade (HB 2020)

Either amendments to the previous bill, or an overhaul and re-write of the bill, will likely be coming within the next week. There aren’t any major improvements being anticipated, and information will be updated as soon as that version becomes available.

  • Independent Contractors (HB 2498)

There was numerous feedback and numerous companies testified during the past week regarding this bill, which would heavily affect Oregon’s independent contracting laws, and would be jeopardizing thousands of jobs. Places this could potentially impact include insurance, funeral home, and salon contractors. The committee may take a similar action to that of Cap and Trade, with weighing options on the direction of this bill for future legislation.

  • Corporate Tax Increases.

The Revenue Subcommittee of the Joint Student Success Committee is starting to focus on a Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) in order to add new revenue for the state’s K-12 system. There has also been discussion over a Business Activity Tax (allows for capital expenditures). Early indicators are focused towards CAT, which is forecast to be a 0.48% tax against a company’s top-line sales. This would be in addition to the Oregon’s corporate income tax. The subcommittee is trying to raise a net $1 billion extra per year for Oregon companies.

  • Lawsuit Damages (HB 2014)

There has been testimonies from local physicians and health care providers pertaining to this bill, which would repeal Oregon’s legal limit of $500,000 regarding non-economic damages in personal injury and negligence lawsuit claims. It could lead to increases in health care costs, and general liability costs for employers.

  • Employment Contracts (HB 2498)

A preliminary hearing is schedule in the upcoming week regarding this bill which would substantially shift the relationship between employers and employees in the state. It aims at eliminating an employer’s ability to enforce agreements if they aren’t written and disallows employment contracts of no longer than two years.

  • OregonSaves Penalties (SB 164)

Passed in 2015, the Oregon Retirement Saving Program had no focus towards penalties if businesses weren’t complaint. This focuses on implementing penalties, along with future work sessions to get the details of this bill ironed out.

  • Age discrimination (HB 2818)

Employers may not have the opportunity to screen job applicants based on age with this bill. It also adds new and substantive penalties regarding the violation of the age discrimination laws as well.