KP Employment Department: Monitoring of 2018 Legislative Session

The Oregon Legislature is now halfway through its 2018 session.  This even-year session may be a short one, but its agenda is jam-packed with bills that could impact employers across the state.


Topping most news reports is HJR 203, a bill that would amend the Oregon Constitution by declaring health care is a “fundamental right.”  The bill does not specifically target employers, but critics have emphasized that its financial impacts and funding sources are unclear.  It passed in the House last week, and is headed for a work session in the Senate later this month.  If approved by the Senate, it will appear on the Nov. 2018 ballot.


Here are some other bills under consideration that will impact Oregon employers:


  • HB 4160:  Creates family and medical leave insurance program to provide employee who is eligible for coverage with portion of wages while employee is on family medical leave or military leave. The program is funded by equal contributions by employees and employers not to exceed .5% of an employee’s wages, and would allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year for specified reasons.


  • HB 4154:  Makes contractor liable for unpaid wages, including benefit payments or contributions, of employee of subcontractor at any tier. Permits a joint labor management committee and certain third parties to bring action on behalf of wage claimant against contractor.


  • HB 4105:  Imposes penalty on employers with 50+ employees that offer health insurance coverage to employees but have employees working at least 30 hours/week who receive benefits of medical assistance program. Prohibits retaliation against an employee for participating in medical assistance program.


  • HB 4021:  Allows certain employers to permit employees to work more than 60 hours in one workweek to cover for employee absences. (This bill relates primarily to mill, factory, and other manufacturing establishments, and their particular limits on employee hours.)


  • SB 1559:  Directs state agencies to establish procedure for employees to anonymously disclose certain information. Expands reporting channels and protection for whistleblowing by public employees.  (More news coverage is here.)


  • SB 1524:  Prohibits union security agreements between public employer and union. Allows public employees to opt out of union membership and bargain employment terms and conditions separate from collective bargaining agreement.


Karnopp Petersen’s employment law team will report more after the session wraps in mid-March.  Stay tuned to see if any of these bills become law!


Kurt Barker, Ben Eckstein