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Highlights from the 2017 Legislative Session and Other News

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The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is the hospitality industry’s watchdog and advocate on issues and legislation affecting our industry. On the national, statewide and local levels, ORLA provides a voice for our industry. You can count on the ongoing efforts of ORLA’s government affairs team to advocate for favorable laws and fair regulations, and to stop unfair taxes and anti-business legislation in their tracks.

National News

OVERTIME RULE STRUCK DOWN

After a district court overturned the Obama-era overtime regulation in August and the Department of Labor (DOL) decided not to contest the ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals made the final ruling last week by closing the pending case that first put a temporary hold on the rule last November.

As the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Law Center was part of the management team that oversaw the legal strategy, we’re pleased the controversial rule is behind us, as it could have done significant damage to both employers and employees. The NRA has put together comments for the DOL in response to their Request for Information (RFI). ORLA will keep you informed when updates are available.

 

Legislative Highlights


RESTRICTIVE SCHEDULING
SB 828 – Requires employers to pay employees if the employee is scheduled or called into work but, due to the employer, does not work an entire shift. ORLA initially opposed this bill due to its restrictive and punitive nature and because research shows when Oregon employees are asked, three out of four do not want the government interfering with their work schedules. Once it was clear this bill was going to pass, ORLA worked with others in the business community and with labor to negotiate and make it a better bill for employees and employers.

SB 828 did pass both the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.

This law only applies to retail, foodservice and hospitality industries. There were numerous amendments and revisions to this law including:

  • reducing the predictability pay from four hours to one hour
  • increasing the number of employees from 100 to 500 for the purposes of inclusion in the law
  • adding a voluntary “standby list” for those employees who want to be called in where there are shifts needing to be covered
  • eliminating the private right of action except in the case of retaliation by an employer and
  • including a permanent statewide preemption on local scheduling ordinances

For a complete list of the changes and explanations of each, please visit www.oregonrla.org/schedulinglaw.

 

The following bills, which could have potentially cost businesses thousands of dollars, were opposed by ORLA and successfully defeated in 2017.

EXCISE TAX ON COFFEE

  • HB 2875 would have imposed a .05 per pound excise tax on all coffee beans and ground coffee.
  • Any person selling these products would have had to submit to the Department of Revenue, on or before the last business day of the month, on forms prescribed, a signed statement of the gross weight of coffee beans and ground coffee subject to the excise tax imposed under this section during the preceding calendar month, whether sold at wholesale or used in preparing specialty coffee beverages for sale at retail.
  • $350 SAVINGS per establishment (on average)

 

PROPERTY LIEN

  • HB 2180 would have allowed an employee who has a claim against the employer under this subsection or the assignee of an employee who has filed a wage claim under this subsection a lien upon all property of the employer, real and personal, located in this state for the amount of the unpaid wages to which the employee is entitled.
  • Employees would also have the ability to bring an action of a lien prior to presenting a wage claim to the Bureau of Labor and Industries.
  • $125,000 SAVINGS per establishment

 

UNUSED GIFT CARDS

  • SB 113 would have transferred any unused amount on gift cards to the Department of State Lands five years after the last transaction.
  • $2,500 SAVINGS per establishment

 

Other News

TIP POOLING
Not much new on this topic as we are still waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will take up our case. With the Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts essentially having opposing rulings on similar tip pooling cases, the SCOTUS may take up this case to resolve the differing opinions once and for all. The US Department of Labor has indicated they will rescind the rule change that occurred during the Obama Administration prohibiting non-tip credit states like Oregon from being allowed to tip pool with the back of the house but so far, we have heard nothing further on this important change. Even if the Department of Labor rescinds the rule we will continue to pursue action with the SCOTUS.

 

About the Author

Greg Astley serves as Director of Government Affairs at ORLA. For more information, please visit www.Oregonrla.org/ga or email Astley@OregonRLA.org.

 

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