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Labor Bureau grants “Safe Harbor” on Portland Sick Leave

October 31, 2013 --

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

BOLI Provides Employers “Safe Harbor” Period to Adjust to Portland Sick Leave

The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the agency charged with enforcing Portland’s new Sick Leave Ordinance, has announced a proposal to provide employers a “safe harbor” period to adjust to the requirements of the new law. The Sick Leave Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2014, but the agency will focus on training and assistance until July 31, 2014, to give employers time to adapt to the new requirements of the law. During this safe harbor period, BOLI would not take enforcement action against employers who unintentionally violate the law.

As we have previously reported, the Sick Leave Ordinance requires all private-sector employers with six or more employees to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to employees working at least 240 hours in a calendar year within Portland city limits. Smaller employers (those with five or fewer employees) must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. Employees will accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked within the Portland city limits, regardless of where the employer is located.

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Oregon’s minimum wage to rise: Will it help or hurt?

October 30, 2013 --

Cascade-Policy
By Erin Shannon,Guest writer
Cascade Policy Institute

The debate over raising the minimum wage is everywhere. Fast food workers around the country have been striking for higher pay, Oregon’s minimum wage is set to increase to $9.10 per hour in January, and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is demanding that Whole Foods pay workers there more than the company’s current average wage of $16.15 per hour. But while Oregon’s neighbors to the north already have the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.19, a dramatic minimum wage battle is set to take place in SeaTac, Washington. Voters there will decide in November whether the city will increase the minimum wage for workers in SeaTac’s hospitality and transportation industries to $15 per hour.

Proponents of SeaTac’s Proposition 1 argue a mandated higher minimum wage than the state’s current minimum of $9.19 per hour is necessary to help lift low-wage workers out of poverty. Plenty of research shows that forcing a big increase in the minimum wage would have the opposite effect, hurting small businesses and pricing many low-wage workers out of their jobs.

But the most compelling arguments against a super-high minimum wage come from homegrown Washington businesses with real-world experience.

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Oregon part of $30M judgement against discount club

October 29, 2013 --

OREGON, OTHER STATES, REACH $30 MILLION JUDGMENT AGAINST NEGATIVE OPTION MARKETERAttorney-General
By Oregon Attorney General

Affinion Settles Allegations of Deceptive Advertising and Enrollment in Discount Clubs with Oregon, 46 other states

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced today that Stamford, Conn.-based Affinion, and its subsidiaries Trilegiant and Webloyalty, will pay over $30 million to settle allegations they misled consumers into signing up and paying for discount clubs and membership.

The $30 million will be split among 47 states, the District of Columbia and consumers. Oregon will receive more than $700,000. Part of the money – more than $19 million – will help provide refunds to certain consumers. Oregonians who believe they were improperly charged by Affinion, Trilegiant or Webloyalty should file complaints with the Oregon Department of Justice by calling the consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or filing a complaint at www.oregonconsumer.gov

The multi-state action was led by Oregon and eight other states.

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The “other” office harassment issues

October 28, 2013 --

nfib-logoAffiliations, genetic screening, and more emerge among the latest issues.
By NFIB

If you’re on your game at all, you already know about the most common forms of discrimination and harassment: race, religion, disability, sex (including pregnancy). The price for dropping the ball is steep. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission records $43 million in awards in 2012.

You’ve likely taken a course, trained your workers, kept up with the literature. But in recent years, entirely new classes of discrimination have come up. Workers can be harassed and discriminated against in ways you have not even thought of. For example: One in five sexual harassment claims today comes from men, according to the advocacy group AWARE.org. That’s something many employers haven’t prepared for, and it’s just the start.

RELATED: Protect Your Business from Sexual Harassment Charges

Genetic information

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Wage lawsuit hits Google, Apple, Intel

October 26, 2013 --

Wall Street Journal reports on a class action lawsuit advances on a lawsuit against many tech giants. Watch video below.

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Private sector rescuing $300M HealthCare.gov

October 25, 2013 --

View image on Twitter

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

At least $300 million has been spent on HealthCare.gov, the federally-run health insurance exchange, and three weeks after launch it still doesn’t work. It was supposed to be the Amazon or Kayak of health insurance but has been a riddled with glitches so far:

No private sector company would have messed up a little-tested product launch this badly, and if it had, the CEO wouldn’t have told customers to call a 1-800 number that directs you to go to the website—a Catch-22 for the 21st Century–like President Obama did on Monday.

Now, the Obama administration wants the private sector, specifically Verizon, to come to the rescue according to USA Today:

An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official.

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Some property taxes rise 13%

October 24, 2013 --

By Oregon Tax News,Oregon-tax-news

Many Washington County property owners will see as much as 13% property tax increase. Some Portland homes will witness an 11% increase in their property taxes. Clackamas property owners will see an average of 3% increase. Lane County homeowner median property taxes are expected to rise by 8.5% helped in part by a new Lane County jail levy. Within Lane County, Eugene & Springfield are experiencing a 10% median increase. Marion County is expecting no significant county-wide increase.

Multnomah County homeowners will see a substantial increase in property taxes as a result of three ballot measures approved last November. Those measures were: the Portland School District’s $482 million school construction bond, the largest in Oregon’s history; the Multnomah County library district, which established a permanent taxing structure; Metro’s natural areas levy.Dollar amounts are as follows: $45 million to Portland Public Schools, $33 million to Multnomah County libraries, $3 million for maintenance and restoration of county parks and natural areas.

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Californians flock to Oregon, Oregonians flock to Seattle

October 23, 2013 --


By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog.

Based on an inquiry, I have dug a bit deeper into the IRS migration data and wanted to share a few facts and figures. First off, I am defining metro Oregon and rural Oregon for these purposes. Metro Oregon are the 6 MSAs in the state and their associated counties: Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, Bend, Corvallis. All other counties are are non-metro, or rural for these purposes. I then look at migration from other states and whether the people moving in are from large cities (Top 50 MSAs in size), other metro areas or other rural areas. In terms of net migration, the majority of migrants come from large cities and chose to live in metro Oregon, however there are quite a few individuals who move into rural Oregon as well. Overall about 10% of the state’s net migration over the years 2007-08 to 2009-10, based on the IRS tax return data, has been into rural Oregon. When looking at those moving from a large city the share is even larger, at about 18% of net migration from the nation’s largest cities. This is still a smaller share than the underlying population in the state, however rural Oregon is seeing larger gains from these big cities.

MoreMigration

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Greg Walden: How the President is killing job growth

October 22, 2013 --

wldnptndWall Street Journal Opinion by Oregon Congressman Greg Walden and Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (10/16/13).

President Obama is damaging the economy in a number of ways, but one often overlooked infliction is regulatory uncertainty. The administration has been unclear, to put it charitably, about how it plans to regulate entire sectors of the economy. And it’s killing jobs, hurting the middle class, and limiting the country’s potential for growth.

Almost daily, the administration announces new plans to unilaterally alter the legal landscape of American business, tweaking agency rules or coming up with new ones. Complying with each of these changes costs money, which discourages a company from hiring workers and hurts productivity. But on a broader level, this kind of ad hoc approach to regulating indicates that the president doesn’t understand what growth requires. The United States has spent the past five years—Mr. Obama’s entire presidency—in the economic doldrums because the country’s leader can’t connect the dots between federal regulatory actions and entrepreneurial investment decisions.

Let’s begin with a recent example.

On Sept. 26, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining potential new media-ownership rules that eliminate the so-called UHF discount. The change would affect how the FCC determines whether a station owner has approached a 39% cap on nationwide audience that can be reached by a single owner.

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Boeing loses 50 year client in Japan

October 21, 2013 --

boeing-dreamlinerJapan Airlines Chooses Airbus Over Boeing
By Oregon Small Business Association

An October 7th press release by Airbus announced that Japan Airlines has signed a contract for 31 Airbus A350 wide-body jets plus options for another 25 aircraft. The announcement dealt a hard hit to Boeing, which has enjoyed decades of strong sales in Japan. Boeing’s problems with the 787 Dreamliner, such as delays in development and well-publicized battery problems have affected the company’s reputation of reliability. In January, JAL experienced a Dreamliner electrical fire while parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Six Dreamliners operated by United Airlines were grounded by the FAA due to concerns about overheating batteries. Those planes were also grounded in Japan by JAL and ANA. Wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing’s 787 and 777X offer greater fuel efficiency while carrying a higher number of passengers. Boeing is still a contender and performign strong despite the news. Thsi month Boeing announced that commercial deliveries increased 14% over the year and the pace of their deliveries nearly doubled for their 787 Dreamliners.

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