Costly Employment Bills Rear Their Head
SB 35, 611, and 624 Would Prove Costly and Detrimental to Oregon Companies
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries
AOI commented on several employment-related bills during the week that would have the effect of expanding employer taxes, employer liability, and tying up company assets.
AOI opposed SB 35, a bill that would allow unemployment benefits to certain non-classified school personnel. Why is this a business issue? Because SB 35 throws Oregon unemployment laws out of conformity with federal laws with regard to benefits for non-classified school employees. The result would be a loss to Oregon employers of their 5.4% Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax credit, which would amount to a $950 million annual tax increase on Oregon businesses.
AOI testified in opposition to SB 611, which would have opened up the definition of “employer” to such an extent so as to make “employers” out of thousands of Oregonians who would never be considered an employer. The kicker? SB 611 makes “employers” out of all these people exclusively for the purpose of wage claims! In other words, SB 611 aimed at expanding the number of “employers” in the state who could be sued for wage claims. (You can read AOI’s comments here.)
AOI also testified in strong opposition to SB 624, which would allow anyone with an unsubstantiated wage claim to file a lien against an employer’s real or personal property. The lien would be applied against employer assets regardless of the merits of the wage claim. (You can read AOI’s comments click here.)
As of now, it does not appear that any of these bills have the necessary votes to pass the Oregon Senate. AOI will continue to work these issues and will alert AOI members if there are changes to the status of any of these legislative proposals.