Beginning January 1, 2016, Oregon employees will have new protections and their employers will have new legal responsibilities. Following a busy legislative year, the following are some of the new laws taking effect this January that affect Oregon workplaces:
- Statewide Mandatory Paid Sick Leave – Effective January 1, 2016, Oregon employers with 10 or more employees statewide (or 6 employees if operating in Portland) must provide all employees up to 40 hours of paid leave per year. Employers with fewer than 10 employees, and fewer than six employees if operating in Portland, must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave per year. Leave may be taken for an employee’s own health care or for that of a family member.
- Use of Sick Leave for Domestic Violence –Effective January 1, 2016, employees must be allowed to use vacation, paid leave offered in lieu of vacation, or any accrued sick leave or personal business leave to address issues of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking.
- “Wage Transparency” – Effective January 1, 2016, an employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for discussing his or her wages or the wages of another employee or for takes remedial action related to the alleged disclosure of wage information.
- Statewide and Portland “Ban the Box” – Effective January 1, 2016, employers will be prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose criminal convictions on an employment application. Under the state law, employers may not require job applicants to disclose criminal convictions prior to an initial interview. Portland law prohibits covered employers from considering a job applicant’s criminal history prior to a conditional offer of employment.
- Employee Scheduling Preemption – Between June 29, 2015 and August 31, 2017, state law preempts any local law that would regulate how private employers schedule their employees.
- Social Media Screen – Effective January 1, 2016, an employer cannot require applicants or employees to allow the employer to advertise on their personal social media accounts.
It promises to be a busy start to the New Year for Oregon employers.