Employment Law Updates for Makers

March 03, 2018 02:19 PM
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Employment Law Updates for Makers

by Nicolle Farup, Good Company HR


“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” -Guy Kawasaki


The best part of being a maker is making things people love. The other part is running the business and knowing –not to mention complying with– the many changing laws and rules around managing employees.


This article summarizes the most significant updates over this past year, shedding some light on how they may (or may not) be relevant to maker, micro and smaller businesses.


The Federal Level

There was a lot of uncertainty as the new administration reviewed mandates, laws and rules, leaving many employers of all sizes uncertain of what the new landscape would look like. Ultimately there were fewer changes made than anticipated, some affecting larger companies while smaller companies saw little impact in how they are doing business.


In Oregon

In Oregon, it was a different story. The state continues to take the lead over the Federal government, enacting several significant new laws offering greater protections, rights and benefits to workers. Many of these new laws are in effect now and almost all apply to employers of all sizes.


Oregon Equal Pay Law, October 2017 – All employers

This new law prohibits employers from paying employees performing comparable work at different rates of pay due to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age.


Beginning October 2017, employers can no longer ask about current or previous wage or salary history in interviews or when checking references, or base job offers on previous pay history. By 2019, all employers should have pay plans that describe why they are paying employees what they are based on skills and merit.


Tip: Instead of asking candidates their current pay or what they want to be paid, figure out ahead of time what you can or want to pay for the position, ask them if that pay or range works for them.


Updated I9 Forms, November 2017 – All employers

All employees must have an I9 form on file. The form and instructions were last updated in November 2017 and can be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. Make sure you are using the right form.


Best practice – Keep I9 forms for all employees together, secured in a locked cabinet or safe with controlled access, and separate from other personnel files.


New Federal Tax Law, January 2018 –All employers

The tax tables changed with the new Federal Tax Law. If you are doing your own payroll, make sure your withholdings are correct. You can find tables and more information on the IRS Notice 1036.


Overtime Updates for Manufacturing, January 2018 – All Employers

This year the legislature clarified the overtime rules for manufacturing workers as follows;

  • Overtime for hours worked over 10 in a 24-hour period OR over 40 in a workweek, whichever is greater
  • Can only work up to 13 hours in a 24-hour period
  • Must have at least 10 hours of rest between shifts
  • Cannot work more than 55 hours in a workweek
  • and finally, workers can consent to work up to 60 hours in a work week occasionally and only with their prior written consent
  • Exceptions may be made for workers who are engaged in food processing
  • Changes took place January 1, 2018


Tip – Piece-rate workers may be employees and may be considered in manufacturing. Get legal guidance if you aren’t sure.


Oregon Sick Time Law Clarifications, January 2018 – All Employers

Oregon clarified the directions to employers in the Oregon Sick Time Law.

  • Employers can limit to 40 hours of accrual in a year
  • Employers maintaining a location in a city in OR with 500K or more population (e.g. Portland) are subject to the lower 6 or more rule
  • Piece workers, commissioned workers and any other workers without established pay, leave is to be paid at a rate equivalent to the whichever is greater, the employee’s hourly, weekly or monthly wage or the minimum wage
  • Who can be excluded from employee count – anyone with 15% or more ownership, directors of corporations and family members of owners
  • Seasonal farm and construction are not subject to the lower count


Tip – Many smaller employers aren’t sure what, if anything, they have to provide. Get professional guidance if you aren’t sure.


Privacy: Managing Social Security Numbers, January 2018 – All Employers

Oregon expanded on the law regarding the handling of personal information, including the handling of any documents with social security numbers included. The updates require the redaction and secure disposal of any and all paperwork or records containing social security numbers.


Tip – Don’t ask for social security numbers on application forms.


Oregon Wage and Hour Law, January 2018 – All Employers

This law prohibits employers from compelling employees to falsify documents related to hours worked or compensation received and authorizes private actions and recovery of actual damages, penalties, fees, and costs.


Tip – Don’t ever ask employees to forge, lie or forget anything.


Oregon Predictive Scheduling, January 2018 – Only retail, hospitality and food service industries with more than 500 employees

Many workers are confused over whether or not this applies to them. This law requires qualified employers to provide new hires with a good-faith estimate of work schedules, including average monthly hours. Employers must also provide advance notice of schedules; 7-days advance notice as of 7/1/2018, and 14 days as of 7/1/2020 and requires employers pay premium payments apply for changes to the posted schedule, as well as a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts.


Tip – It’s always a good idea to follow fair scheduling practices regardless of number of employees.


Oregon Wage Theft Law, January 2017 – All employers

Expanded what information needs to be included on paystubs. Make sure your paystubs have all the required information included.



This is by no means a complete list of updates – keeping up to date and in compliance is the tough part of running a business, especially when the focus should be on making beautiful, useful and loved products for people. If you have questions or want further guidance on what and how to best tackle compliance, get some guidance from an HR professional or employment law attorney.


Disclaimer: Nothing included in this post is intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney. Additionally, there are no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information presented is current as changes and developments to laws and rules affecting employers happen frequently. Check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.


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