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Changes are on the way for employers in 2008.

Byline: ON THE JOB By Bureau of Labor & Industries For The Register-Guard

In the coming weeks, we will inform readers of several upcoming legislative changes that Oregon employers should be aware of. A few of them are outlined below:

Minimum wage increase: As of Jan. 1, Oregon's minimum wage will go up 15 cents - from $7.80 to $7.95 per hour. Note that this change will apply only to wages earned after Jan. 1.

Changes in the Oregon Family Medical Leave Act:

Workers' compensation leave not counted against OFLA leave. In many instances, a workplace injury also meets the definition of a "serious health condition" under both OFLA and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. As things stand now, both OFLA and FMLA allow an employer to count the time off for a compensable workplace injury as part of OFLA and FMLA leave. As of Jan. 1, however, employers can't count it as OFLA leave.

Example: James is a 40-hour-a-week employee who has worked with the employer for two years. He strains his back at work on March 1, 2008, and his workers' compensation claim is accepted. James takes three weeks off to recuperate.

Assuming that James otherwise meets the qualification standards for OFLA and FMLA, the employer would be able to count the time off as FMLA leave, but could not count it as OFLA. Therefore, if James' son subsequently developed a serious health condition, James would have only nine weeks left in his FMLA bank, but would be able to use the full 12-week entitlement under OFLA.

Employees allowed to use accrued paid sick leave for any OFLA purpose. Example: James is using OFLA and FMLA to care for his son, who has a serious health condition. The employer's policy allows employees to use sick leave for their own illnesses, but not for those of family members. Nevertheless, James asks to use his sick leave for the absence.

Currently, the employer would not be obligated to let James use his sick leave for either OFLA or FMLA purposes. Rather (with the exception of OFLA parental leave) the employer could just adhere to the regular sick leave policy.

As of Jan. 1, however, the employer must allow the employee to use sick leave for any OFLA purpose, even if it conflicts with its policy.

Grandparents and grandchildren are now "family members" under OFLA. James' grandchild develops strep throat, and James asks for time off to care for him. As of now, James would not be entitled to take either OFLA or FMLA leave, because neither grandparents nor grandchildren are considered "family members." That will change in January.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Oct 7, 2007
Previous Article:Practical farming.

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