Employer Mandates

The last few legislative sessions have seen a significant number of new mandates placed on employers in Oregon, and most of not all of the new requirements have had unintended consequences. From paid sick leave, to increased minimum wage, to pay equity and overtime. For example, House Bill 3458 (2017) requires most employers in the manufacturing sector to pay employees the greater of daily or weekly overtime if an employee works more than 10 hours in a single day and more than 40 hours total in the course of a single workweek. This was an improvement over a Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) opinion that double overtime was due if both thresholds were exceeded. The law also sets a firm 55-hour weekly limit for most manufacturing-sector employees. The hard cap on hours has caused significant harm to employees who previously wanted to work more than 55 hours and are no longer allowed to do so by the state. OMC supports efforts to reform this law in the 2019 legislative session.

While the mandates were well intentioned in theory, the cumulative impact has caused harm to the very employees they were designed to protect. Each mandate comes at a significant cost to Oregon employers, and additional mandates are currently being considered by lawmakers. The most significant of which is paid family leave, which was proposed during the 2017 Legislative Assembly and reintroduced in 2019 and would have required 12 weeks of paid family leave for every employee, plus an additional 6 weeks for parental leave.

OMC will continue to be at the forefront of conversations surrounding new mandates throughout the 2019 legislative session.

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