29 Jul

July 2021 Oregon HR Legal Updates

Posted at

4:15pm

in

Vaccine Incentives and Hiring Bonuses Temporarily Allowed in Oregon 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On July 8, 2021, Oregon legislature temporarily amended Oregon’s Equal Pay Act (EPA). 

What are the details?
Oregon’s Equal Pay Act has been temporarily amended to allow employers to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and to attract new employees as the state begins re-opening from COVID-19. Under the revised statute, when evaluating whether employees who perform work of comparable character are paid equitably, a comparison of employee compensation may exclude vaccine incentives. Similarly, hiring and retention bonuses are excluded from the calculation.

The amendment notes that vaccine incentives are excluded for pay comparison purposes on any claims filed after April 29, 2021. It also excludes hiring and retention bonuses for pay comparison purposes on claims and complaints filed after May 25, 2021. Both amendments are due to expire March 1, 2022. 

The revised statute can be read here

An article on the update can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should read the information above and the revised statute to properly process any claims on pay comparison filed after April 29, 2021 and hiring or retention bonuses filed after May 25, 2021. 

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Oregon’s Equal Pay Poster Receives Update 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On June 21, 2021, the Oregon Bureau of Labor updated their Equal Pay notice. 

What are the details?
Oregon updated its Equal Pay notice to reflect that it is unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less than someone else because of their gender, race, veteran status, disability, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or pay history. 

The updated poster can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Oregon should update their Equal Pay poster to stay in compliance. The updated poster can be read here

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Oregon Updates Paid Sick Time Notice 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On June 21, 2021, the Oregon Bureau of Labor updated their Paid Sick Time notice. 

What are the details?
Oregon updated its Paid Sick Time notice poster. The updated notice clarifies that paid sick time covers bereavement, parental leave, and leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency. The poster revision date is June 21, 2021. 

The updated poster can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Oregon should update their Paid Sick Time poster to stay in compliance. The updated poster can be read here

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Temporary Heat Standard Issued by Oregon OSHA 

 Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon.  

What happened?
On July 8, 2021, Oregon’s OSHA established emergency heat safety requirements.   

What are the details?
Effective immediately, Oregon’s OSHA adopted workplace heat safety requirements that apply when temperatures in a work area reach or exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional rules will also apply when the temperature breaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The state will now apply to incidental exposure (less than 15 minutes of exposed work activity in any 60-minute period), to transportation of employees inside vehicles when they are not otherwise performing work, or where other standards apply (e.g., where heat is generated from a work process). These emergency rules will stay in effect until a permanent rule is completed.  

By August 1, 2021, employers must provide training to all employees who can reasonably be anticipated to be exposed to temperatures at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the work area. The training must be in a language readily understood, and include the following:  

  • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment. 
  • The procedures for complying with the requirements of this standard, including the employer’s responsibility to provide water, provide daily heat index information, shade, cool-down rests, and access to first aid as well as the employees’ right to exercise their rights under this standard without fear of retaliation. 
  • The concept, importance, and methods of adapting to working in a hot environment. 
  • The importance of employees immediately reporting symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers. 
  • The effects of non-job factors (medications, alcohol, obesity, etc.) on tolerance to workplace heat stress. 
  • The different types of heat-related illness, and the common signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.  

Employees exposed to a work area that is at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit must be provided a shade area and water that meets the below specifications:  

  • Shade Requirements 
  • Be provided by any natural or artificial means that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions and that does not deter or discourage access or use. 
  • Either be open to the air or provide mechanical ventilation for cooling. 
  • At least accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods, so that they can sit in in the shade. 
  • Be located as close as practical to the areas where employees are working. 
  • Shade present during meal periods must be large enough to accommodate the number of employees on the meal period that remain onsite. 
  • Water Requirements 
  • Be readily accessible to employees at all times and at no cost. 
  • Enable each employee to consume 32 ounces per hour. 
  • Be cool (66-77 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold (35-65 degrees Fahrenheit). 
  • Drinking water packaged as a consumer product and electrolyte-replenishing drinks that do not contain caffeine are acceptable substitutes but should not completely replace the required water. 
  • Employers must also ensure that employees have ample opportunity to drink water.  

When the temperature level rises to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the below rules apply in addition to the previous rules: 

  • Ensure effective communication between an employee and a supervisor is maintained so that an employee can report concerns.  
  • Ensure that employees are observed for alertness and signs and symptoms of heat illness and monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary. 
  • Provide a cool-down rest period in the shade of 10 minutes for every two hours of work. These preventative cool-down rest periods may be provided concurrently with any other meal or rest period required by policy, rule, or law. 
  • Develop and implement an emergency medical plan and practices to gradually adapt employees to working in the heat. 

An article on the emergency rules can be read here.  

Documents, resources, and further details on the rules can be read here.  

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the rules and their workplace policies on training and outdoor heat exposure to stay in compliance with the new rules. 

 

 

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