Employment Practices Chair:
Eileen Kunze, A-dec, Inc.
AOI Policy Manager:
Betsy Earls, Vice President & Counsel
Mission: Protect the right of employers to lawfully manage their workplaces.
- Support workplace laws and regulations that enable Oregon businesses to be competitive locally, nationally and internationally;
- Support workplace policies that allow employers to manage their workplaces without unnecessary government intrusion or mandates;
- Support workplace policies that give employers the maximum ability to promote the well-being of their employees, including flexible work hours, drug-free workplaces, and the ability to offer competitive wages and benefits.
AOI is the flagship business organization in Oregon with regard to employment law issues. AOI’s position on employment law issues are first determined by the Employment Practices Policy Council and subsequently reviewed and approved by the AOI Board of Directors. The Employment Practices Policy Council is the state’s largest, broadest, and most influential assembly of business owners, executives, HR managers and attorneys interested in employment law issues. Attendance is open to any AOI member.
The Council reviews, analyzes and takes positions on pending legislation and regulation. AOI representatives also meet with legislators and regulators (Workers’ Compensation Department, OR-OSHA, BOLI, etc.) to negotiate various employment law issues.
Current Priority Issues:
Maintaining scheduling flexibility: Proposals under development at the state level would hinder businesses’ ability to schedule their workforces in a manner that best meets the needs of customers, employees, and businesses. These proposals, expected to be considered in the next Legislative Session, could require businesses to commit to employees’ schedules up to four weeks in advance. Any changes after that time could require employers to compensate workers for some percentage of their pay.
AOI is working to preserve employers’ ability to schedule and compensate their workforces in a way that allows them to balance workers’ needs for predictable schedules with businesses’ need for flexibility.
Making paid sick time work: Oregon’s new paid sick time law took effect January 1, 2016, but problems persist with implementation. Employer issues range from trouble with counting temp employees (for purposes of meeting the paid/not paid sick time threshold) to finding ways to make leave banks and PTO policies work.
AOI is working with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to rewrite the sick time administrative rules in order to minimize employers’ regulatory burden.
Overtime changes: At the federal level, changes scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, will double the annual salary level used in determining whether an employee qualifies for an exemption from overtime laws, with automatic yearly increases. This increase to $47,476 presents significant challenges to Oregon employers, especially those in rural areas where salaries tend to be lower. Both the doubling and the automatic increase of the threshold ignore variations of industry and region that are pieces of Oregon’s economy.
AOI is supporting the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act, introduced in Congress by Representative Kurt Schrader. The Act would phase in the salary threshold increase over three years, and would prohibit automatic increases.