2019 Oregon Legislative Update

New Business Tax?

You might remember Measure 97, a gross receipts tax that Oregon voters overwhelming turned down in 2016?  This gross receipts  would have been levied on the business’s sales regardless if companies make a profit. The Oregon Legislature is going back to the idea of a gross receipts tax to plug our upcoming budget deficit.  There are several routes the Legislature may go: a restructured gross receipts tax; a business activity tax—which is levied on gross income; or an increase in corporate taxes rates. Or some combination of two of the aforementioned options.

Unlike Measure 97, which was designed to target only C-Corps with 25 million or more in sales, a gross receipts tax may apply to all business types and may set the tax rate on sales at a much lower threshold.  The Oregon Business Council has begun collecting data on business with $500,000 in sales, a possible harbinger of what may come. With the business activity tax it is unclear as to what monetary level taxation would actually begin. We should soon see a bill or bills being introduced in the House.

Bill Updates

SB 211– Repeals to tax cuts from small businesses:  A summary of the bill “Requires that income must also be eligible for federal deduction available for pass-through income in order to use reduced rates. Applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.”

SB 284 – Prohibits employers from collecting biometric data: If it were to pass, it would presumably prohibit employers from using time clocks with fingerprint readers.

SB 379 – Oregon’s Supreme Court ruled that employers may enforce marijuana DRUG TESTING policies in the workplace. The bill would prohibit employers from prohibiting the use of substances legal in Oregon even though there are provisions for employers to take disciplinary action against employees that are under the influence, but it is unclear how that mechanism can be enforced. A urine test does not show impairment, just past use. An Employer cannot do blood tests on employees. Law Enforcement can do testing called DREs to show impairment, but officers are highly trained in administering this test, something employers will not have the resources to do. At this time it appears this bill is stuck in the Senate. A similar measure in the House, HB 2655, also appears to have died as well.

HB 2498 – This bill would reclassify many independent contractors as employees. Generally, if an employer contracts out services that are part of its ‘usual course of business,’ then those contractors would need to be reclassified as employees.

List of Proposed Laws: As the legislature continues to meet Cardinal will endeavor to keep you updated.

SB 6 Increases minimum wage exemption for purposes of garnishment and execution.

SB 62 Prohibits employing a person that employer knows, or with exercise of reasonable care–should know, is not licensed or permitted to practice medical imaging modality.

SB 75 Provides that interest earned by Employer Incentive Fund may be used to match lump sum payments by participating public employers in Public Employees Retirement System.

SB 83 Expands prohibition against requiring an employee to pay cost of a medical examination as condition of employment – now includes “in consideration for employment.”

SB 85 Makes employment of minors at a business that permits live entertainment exhibiting obscene performance an unlawful employment practice.

SB 165 Directs employer, on annual tax withholding return submitted to Department of Revenue, to indicate whether the employer offers qualified retirement savings plan that would allow exemption from participation in Oregon Retirement Savings Plan.

SB 284 Makes it unlawful employment practice for an employer to collect biometric data from employees.

SB 370 Requires employer to provide notice to employees of upcoming inspection by a federal agency of the employer’s records [within 72 hours of employer’s receipt of notice of inspection from agency] regarding the identity and employment eligibility of employees.

SB 379 Provides that a condition of employment that would require an employee from refraining from using any substance that is lawful to use in this state, is would be an unlawful employment practice.

SB 479 Requires public employers to adopt policies to prevent workplace harassment.

SB 494 Requires employers who are authorized to pay sub-minimum wages to individuals with disabilities to pay certain wage rates until June 30, 2023.

SB 519 Increases minimum wage exemption for purposes of garnishment and execution.

SB 600 Adds a requirement that communities be within same region that is used to determine required minimum wage to be considered comparable communities.

SB 882 Caps salary of state employees hired on, or after July 1, 2021, at the amount of compensation of a similarly situated federal employee.

HB 2016 Requires a public employer to grant reasonable paid time to public employee who is a designated representative to engage in certain activities.

HB 2223 Prohibits assessment of a penalty wage as remedy for an allegation of certain wage and hour violations if the employer did not remedy the violation prior to employee’s separation from employment.

HB 2296 Allows employer to pay 85 percent of minimum wage to agricultural employee under 21 years of age for initial 90 days of employment.

HB 2313 Requires employers who are authorized to pay sub-minimum wages to individuals with disabilities to pay certain wage rates until June 30, 2023.

HB 2398 Specifies that compensation paid to employees of charitable gaming events must be based on Oregon minimum wage standards.

HB 2413 Provides that an injured worker is eligible for vocational assistance unless average weekly wage exceeds 95 percent of the weekly wage that was paid for employment at which worker was engaged in at time of injury.

HB 2418 Specifies certain presumptions as to cause of death, disability or impairment of health of fire service professional, public safety personnel or employee of public or private safety agency engaged in duties related to firefighting, police, ambulance or emergency medical services in claim for benefits related to occupational disease under workers’ compensation law.

HB 2498 Adds to test to determine whether person is independent contractor requirement that person not perform services that are within usual course of business of person that hired purported independent contractor

HB 2655 Provides that a condition of employment that would require an employee from refraining from using any substance that is lawful to use in this state, would be an unlawful employment practice.

HB 2726 Permits employees who are not union members to voluntarily consent to make in-lieu-of-dues payment to labor organization for organization’s representation of nonmember employees in employment relations with public employer.

HB 2784 Establishes certain requirements for employer who hires homeless day laborer to perform work for employer.

HB 2822 Permits State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation to evaluate a risk corporation that has insured for employers during past three years – allowing a reduction of the premium that the risk corporation charges employer to better reflect reductions or mitigations in risk that resulted from an agreement between employer and corporation.

HB 2927 Provides that an employee of a public employer is liable to employer for wages paid to employee during period of administrative leave if the employee was placed on leave as result of allegation that employee engaged in criminal conduct, and if the employee is thereafter convicted of crime by reason of that conduct.

HB 2992 Establishes as condition of enforce-ability of a non-competition agreement: the employer must provide a signed, written copy of the terms of this agreement to an employee within seven days after termination of employee’s employment.

HB 3031 Creates family and medical leave insurance program to provide employee who is eligible for coverage with portion of wages while employee is on family and medical leave or military family leave.

HB 3120 Provides that an individual may not be disqualified for unemployment insurance benefits for voluntarily leaving work, failing to apply for available suitable work, or failing to accept suitable work, if individual or member of individual’s immediate family was victim of crime of intimidation, individual believes that individual or immediate family member could become victim of crime of intimidation or individual seeks to protect individual or immediately family member from crime of intimidation that individual reasonably believes will occur as a result of individual’s continued employment or acceptance of work.

HB 3187 Makes unlawful employment practice for employer to refuse to provide to requesting state agency employment verification and any other information that is necessary to determine individual’s eligibility to receive public assistance provided by agency.