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A new year is almost upon employers in the Pacific Northwest. And with it come new employment laws taking effect Jan. 1, 2017. This alert provides a brief summary of the key laws that Oregon and Washington employers should be prepared for as we ring in 2017.
Additional Detail Required on Itemized Paystubs (SB 1587)
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, itemized paystubs must include:
Recommended Action: Update paystubs to contain the required information.
Employee Right to Inspect Pay and Time Records (SB 1587)
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, in addition to personnel files, employers must produce time and payroll records within 45 days of a request from an employee or former employees. Time records must be produced for the most recent two years, and payroll records must be produced for the most recent three years.
Recommended Action: Make sure time and pay records are organized and easily accessible. Designate a protocol for responding to requests for these records.
Additional Whistleblower Protection for Employees of Public Employers and Nonprofits Receiving Public Funds (HB 4067)
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, public sector employees and employees of a nonprofit receiving public funds may disclose lawfully accessed information related to a violation of federal, state. or local law by their employer.
Disclosure must be made in good faith and objectively reasonable and is limited to:
Certain exceptions for attorneys and contracts apply, and any disclosure must still comply with federal law, including HIPAA.
Public sector employers and employers of a nonprofit receiving public funds must adopt a policy that delineates the rights and remedies of employees who make permissible disclosures; employers must provide employees with a paper or electronic copy of the policy.
Recommended Action: Draft a policy that describes the statutory rights and remedies in HB 4067 and provide it to employees.
Minimum Wage Increase (Initiative 1433 – Part I)
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the $9.47 minimum wage for the state of Washington will increase as follows: $11.00 (2017), $11.50 (2018), $12.00 (2019) and $13.50 (2020).
After 2020, the minimum wage will increase annually based on the consumer price index (CPI-W).
This does not preempt local minimum wage laws or ordinances.
Recommended Action: Ensure all your Washington employees are being paid at least the new minimum wage.
Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (Initiative 1433 – Part II)
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, employers with employees in Washington must provide paid sick leave to those employees as follows:
Recommended Action: Plan to implement a sick leave policy that complies with the new law by Jan. 1, 2018. Review any applicable collective bargaining agreements to see whether modifications to paid leave provisions are necessary. Keep an eye out for regulations implementing the new law from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
Daniel L. Rowan is an attorney with Bullard Law in Portland, Ore. © Bullard Law. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.
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