New Minimum Wage Rates for Oregon Effective 7/1/19

On July, 1, 2019 the new Oregon minimum wage per hour will be $11.25 for these counties: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Washinton, and Yamhill.

It will be $12.50 per hour for Portland Metro and $11.00 per hour for these nonurban counties: Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Moorrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler. This also means that there are new mandatory posters required.

The new posters are updated on C2Connection in English and Spanish.

Maine Law Requires Employers to Provide Employees Paid Leave to Use for Any Reason

Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed a bill that will allow employees to use mandated paid leave for any reason. Under this law, approximately 85% of private sector employees in Maine will receive paid leave. The new law will take effect January 1, 2021.

Maine employers with at least 10 employees who work more than 120 hours in a calendar year must provide one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours an employee works. An employee can earn up to 40 hours of paid leave annually. Employers who violate the new law will be subject to penalties of up to $1,000.

Employees will begin accruing leave at the start of employment and are eligible to begin using any accrued leave after 120 days of employment. Except in cases of emergency, employees must provide reasonable notice of their intent to take leave and use of leave must be scheduled to prevent undue hardship to the employer.

While on paid leave, an employee must be paid at the same rate of pay they received prior to taking the leave. Taking paid leave cannot result in a loss of any accrued benefits.

Additional information regarding the new law is forthcoming from the Maine Department of Labor.

New Employee Termination Notice for Oregon

On January 1, 2020, employers will be required within seven days to provide a terminated employee with a signed, written copy of the terms of a noncompetition agreement of the as a condition of the enforceability of the agreement. Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed this legislation on May 14, 2019.

VEVRAA New Benchmark Effective 3/31/19

The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), has updated its hiring benchmark to 5.9% effective 3/31/19.

The benchmarking percentage chart is updated annually to be used by contractors who choose to set a VEVRAA hiring benchmark using the national percentage of veterans in the civilian labor force. Previously it was at 6.4%. http://bit.ly/vevraa

Please contact your HR Representative if you have any questions regarding this announcement at 703-444-0096. Further details and updates can also be found at the DOL website. http://bit.ly/c2032819

Reimbursements for Qualified Moving Expenses

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repealed the exclusion of qualified moving expense reimbursements from gross income and wages effective January 1, 2018.

Qualified moving expenses are defined as any amount received directly or indirectly from an employer as payment (or reimbursement of) expenses which would be deductible as moving expenses under Section 217, if directly paid or incurred by the employee. Previously, qualified moving expenses were excluded from an employee’s gross income for income tax purposes, and were excluded from wages for employment tax purposes.

More information on Section 217 can be found at http://bit.ly/2scqXYH

DOL Intern & Student Employee Eligibility Test

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has rejected the previous six-part test for determining whether interns and students are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Going forward, the DOL will use the “primary beneficiary” test to determine whether interns are employees under the FLSA.

The “primary beneficiary” test examines the “economic reality” of the intern employer relationship to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship.

The following seven factors are part of the test:

  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee and vice versa.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

The DOL’s Fact Sheet with further information can be found at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf