Yearly Archives: 2013

When to Break the Rules – Oregon Unemployment Tax and HR Best Practices

Each state has its own unemployment tax system and each are slightly different but they generally operate within a similar framework.  Employers are assessed a tax that goes into a fund that is used to pay for unemployment claims.  The tax rate each business is assigned varies according to two primary elements.  First, how much your former employees take out of the general fund in the form of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.  The second is […]

Automatic Gratuities: Service Charge not Tips

Effective January 1, 2014, automatic gratuities in the hospitality industry (for example, an automatic 18% tip for parties of six or more) will be treated by the IRS as service charges rather than tips.   Unlike optional tips which the employee bears the responsibility of reporting, these service charges will be viewed as wages and the employer will be responsible for reporting them. Additionally, employers should be aware that any such service charges will be […]

New OSHA Hazard Communication Rules

There are changes coming to the hazard communication rules.  These changes focus on how risks associated with chemical hazards in the workplace are conveyed to employees.  The new communication standard is based on the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).  As the name indicates, GHS is meant to be universally adopted to simplify hazard communication.  These changes go into effect for employers on December 1, 2013.   OSHA’s training on the upcoming changes are broken down into […]

Should Your Small Business Offer Health Insurance in 2014

For a good part of 2013 I have been speaking to small businesses about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  At those speaking engagements employers have expressed concern about what should they do in 2014.  Should they provide health insurance, can they afford it or is it better to just wait and see what happens in the latter part of 2013 before making a decision?  There is no easy answer. The answers to these questions vary […]

Battle Claws: Santa vs. the Establishment

Santa Claus. Some of us dress like him. Many of us sit on him. Almost all of us have seen him. He’s BIG. He also evokes a range of emotions in our diverse culture. Some people fondly recall memories of family holiday celebrations. Others find religious meaning. For some, Santa Claus represents exclusion. They may not be excluded intentionally. It just works out that way. It’s a numbers thing. Title VII of the Civil Rights […]

Federal Bonding Program

Wanting to hire an applicant but not sure if you should put them in a position of trust due to a criminal background check?  (For example, a theft conviction would normally bar employment where an employee would handle cash.) There is an option with the no cost Federal Bonding Program.  A bond is provided for 6 months at no cost.  After that period there is an option to purchase a bond from Travelers Insurance. The […]

Navigating the Exchange for Small Business Owners and Employees

Many small employers do not offer health insurance and are wondering what to do for themselves and their employees before January 1st, 2014 rolls around.  Small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) are not subject to the employer mandate and thus do not receive a penalty for not offering health insurance.  However small businesses owners and employees are considered individuals and thus are subject to the individual mandate. If either of the aforementioned individuals do not […]

What’s salary got to do with it?

Having a hard time finding or keeping great employees? Offering an appropriate rate of pay is key to finding and keeping great employees. Keep losing great employees to the competition; or worse, no one is applying for your job openings? Reviewing the rate of pay may be a good place to start. Make sure the rate offered is in an appropriate range to target the employee you are looking to land. If you want an […]

Replace Oregon Workers’ Compensation with a single payer health insurance system?

I remember when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law and one of the questions that came up was, ‘Would the ACA replace workers’ compensation?’ The logic behind the question was if everyone has health insurance, then they really do not need medical benefits from workers’ compensation.  Similar logic was raised in a version of a recent bill in Oregon’s last legislative session, HB 2922.  The bill states, “SECTION 26.  { + (1) The Affordable Health […]


How to Document Be timely – don’t try to “build a case” after the fact; Stick to the facts; What you see or hear – what would be on a video tape; Include the full story; be accurate and specific; If handwritten, write legibly in ink; Sign and date all documents; Document consistently. Documentation Outline State the job performance problem – be specific.     What is the problem? When did it first occur?     How […]