2016 brings these new business laws

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate
by Betsy Earls 

The July adjournment of 2015 Session seems like a long time ago, but many of the laws the Legislature passed are just now taking effect. Unless an emergency clause caused a bill to go into effect immediately upon passage, all 2015 legislation will take effect January 1, 2016. As employers prepare for 2016, they should review the following list and consider whether any of their policies need updating.

Ban the Box: HB 3025, known as “Ban the Box,” prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their conviction history on the initial job application. However, note that nothing in this law prevents an employer from including a statement on their job applications saying that all job applicants will be subject to a criminal background check prior to hiring.

Employers in the City of Portland should note that the city recently passed a more restrictive ordinance which prohibits questions about conviction history and background checks until a conditional job offer is extended.

Mandatory Sick Time: SB 454, mandating that employers provide workers with up to 40 hours of sick time per year, takes effect January 1, 2016. Employers of 10 or more employees (six or more in Portland) must pay for the leave, those with fewer than 10 are not required to pay. The basic provisions of the law may be found here. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor and Industries recently published final rules implementing the law; those may be found here.

Noncompetition Agreements: Oregon’s current law restricts the maximum length of a noncompetition agreement to two years, but the Legislature passed HB 3236, which reduces the allowable length of those agreements to 18 months. The reduction applies only to agreements entered into after January 1, 2016.

AOI opposed all three of these bills, and although they still passed, we were able to negotiate compromises that resulted in less burdensome requirements for employers.

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