Big Changes For Large Employers: Oregon Legislature Passes Fair Work Week Act

by Tonkon Torp LLP
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Tonkon Torp LLP

Recently, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 828, known as the Fair Work Week Act, which will dramatically change how covered employers schedule workers. Governor Brown is expected to sign the law soon.

The Fair Work Week Act applies to large retail, hospitality, and food service establishments in Oregon that employ 500 or more employees worldwide, including chains or "an integrated enterprise." The Act requires these employers to provide non-exempt hourly employees with, among other things, an estimate of work hours, advance notice of work schedules, increased pay if hours are changed after schedules are posted, and required rest periods between shifts.

The law will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Below are highlights of what the new Act will require:

  • Good Faith Estimate of Hours: New hires must receive a written good faith estimate of their work schedule, including the median number of hours the employee can expect to work in an average month.
  • Advance Notice of Work Schedule: Employers are required to post a written schedule in a conspicuous and accessible location at least seven (7) calendar days before the first day of the work schedule. Starting in July 2020, the schedule must be posted at least 14 days in advance.  
  • Work Schedule Changes: If employers make any changes in the schedule, employees may decline, without consequence, any shift not on the schedule.
  • Compensation for Work Schedule Changes: Employers must pay additional compensation to employees if they make changes to the posted schedule:
    • Employers must pay employees one (1) hour of additional pay if: (a) more than 30 minutes is added to the employee's work shift, (b) the start/end time is changed with no loss of hours, or (c) a shift is added to the workweek.
    • Employers must pay employees for half of the hours not worked if the employer: (a) subtracts hours from the work shift, (b) the start/end time is changed with a loss of hours, (c) a shift is cancelled, or (d) no work is performed during an on-call shift.
  • Rest Between Shifts: Employees are entitled to a rest period of at least ten (10) hours between work shifts. Employees must be paid time and a half for all time worked during such rest periods.
  • Exceptions: There are a number of exceptions to the "Compensation for Work Schedule Changes," including an employee-requested shift change, an employee-initiated work shift swap or coverage, decrease in work hours due to disciplinary reasons for just cause, and natural disaster - among others.

In addition, the new law allows employees the opportunity to identify limitations or changes to their availability, although the employer is under no obligation to grant employees' scheduling preferences.

The law also has anti-retaliation, notice, record-keeping, and enforcement provisions.

We will be following up with more details about the Fair Work Week Act over the next twelve months leading up to the date that it goes into effect. In the meantime, employers should review the new law's requirements, determine if you are a covered employer and, if so, begin reviewing employee handbooks, policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements to ensure the proper adjustments are made to comply with the Act.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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