For many employers, a new year is a new opportunity to update policies, procedures, and agreements—including restrictive covenants. In addition to ensuring compliance with applicable state requirements as to timing, consideration, and restrictions, companies need to be aware of applicable compensation minimums for employees being asked to sign noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements. With the start of the new year, many states have increased minimum compensation floors for such employees.
Several state and local minimum wage rates will increase in 2023, with a majority of the changes effective on January 1, 2023. The following chart lists state and certain major locality minimum wage increases for 2023—and future years, if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees.
Analysis of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) publicly available inspection and citation data, which dates back to the 1970s, can help employers forecast and spot enforcement trends and changes, identify new and emerging issues, and correlate information to make unique connections that may not be readily apparent. To assist employers, Ogletree Deakins has developed the OSHA Tracker, a purpose-built resource designed to provide clients and consumers with easy-to-use search tools and filters to convert OSHA data into more digestible and useful information.
Beginning on January 1, 2023, Oregon will join Washington and eleven other states in providing paid family leave to all employees.
The 2023 minimum wage rate in Washington State will increase to $15.74 per hour for employees sixteen years of age and older, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries announced on September 30, 2022.
Remote work has exploded since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with some employers hiring employees to work remotely anywhere in the United States. With the recent economic downturn, layoffs are beginning to occur, and for the first time a significant number of remote employees may be included in layoffs. Layoffs of remote employees present unique legal hazards for employers.
On June 13, 2022, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed into law CB 120294, a measure intended to ensure app-based delivery drivers are paid a minimum wage plus tips and compensation for expenses, increase transparency related to offers for work, and preserve worker flexibility. The App-Based Worker Minimum Payment Ordinance is part of a collection of six legislative proposals known as “PayUp,” and it is the first in the policy package to pass.
With summer weather and wildfire season approaching, Washington employers will have new seasonal workplace safety rules to take into account. On June 1, 2022, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) adopted emergency rules that add to already existing protections for outdoor workers from the summer conditions of heat exposure and wildfire smoke.
With the groundbreaking enactment of a new law relating to certain transportation network companies, rideshare drivers in Washington State will soon enjoy various benefits typically associated with employee status while retaining the independence and flexibility of their independent contractor status.
On March 30, 2022, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 5761, a measure that requires employers to affirmatively disclose in each job posting open to applicants the salary range or wage scale to be offered, as well as a general description of all benefits and other compensation for the position.
The Washington Legislature recently voted to send the Silenced No More Act (Engrossed Substitute House Bill [ESHB] 1795) to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for signature. As currently drafted, the proposed legislation would prohibit nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions in agreements between employers and employees regarding “illegal acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and sexual assault.” The following provides a summary of the bill’s key provisions.
On December 22, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee sent a letter to Washington’s Employment Security Department (ESD) ordering it to not collect premiums under the Washington Cares Fund program until the legislature addresses some of the law’s issues. The letter acknowledged that “legislative leadership has strongly encouraged the employer community to pause collection of premiums from employees.”
On December 17, 2021, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, and House Speaker Laurie Jinkins released a joint statement announcing that the premium assessment under the Washington Cares Fund would be delayed. Employers had been set to collect premiums from Washington employees starting on January 1, 2022, but with this announcement, state leaders have “strongly encourage[d]” employers to “pause on collecting premiums.”
In May 2019, Washington State enacted restrictions on the enforceability of noncompetition covenants. The law, which took effect on January 1, 2020, requires the state to annually adjust the income thresholds for workers who are subject to noncompetition covenants.
In 2021, Washington established a long-term care benefit program for Washington workers called the WA Cares Fund. In short, the program implements a mandatory 0.58 percent payroll deduction on employee wages to create a state trust fund, which, beginning in 2025, will be used to fund certain long-term care costs for eligible Washington workers. Each eligible Washington worker is entitled to a lifetime benefit of up to $36,500, which will be adjusted annually for inflation. The regulatory scheme implementing the program is still being developed, and we will update the below information on our Washington blog about the program as the regulatory rules are finalized and implemented.
On April 14, 2021, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed into law Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1206, creating new requirements for staffing agencies and worksite employers utilizing temporary employees to provide training on workplace safety and health hazards. Under the new law, worksite employers must notify staffing agencies about the anticipated job hazards temporary employees will likely encounter, and provide specific training to temporary employees on those hazards.
On January 25, 2021, the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 119990 (also referred to as the “hazard pay ordinance”), which establishes $4 per hour COVID-19 hazard pay for grocery employees working in the City of Seattle. Below is a chart summarizing the key provisions of the hazard pay ordinance.
Several states’ minimum wage rates will increase in 2021. The following chart lists the state (and certain major locality) minimum wage increases for 2021—and future years, if available—along with the related changes in the maximum tip credit and minimum cash wage for tipped employees.
On November 13, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued a travel advisory for Washington State recommending a 14-day quarantine for all persons entering the state and encouraging residents to stay close to home.
Elections in the United States are scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Not only will the office of president of the United States be contested, but all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate are up for grabs. At the state level, elections will be held for the governorships of 11 U.S. states and 2 U.S. territories.
In May 2019, Washington enacted restrictions on noncompetition covenants, which we wrote about in our article, “Washington State Governor Signs Legislation Restricting Noncompetition Covenants,” and which took effect on January 1, 2020.
In Davidson v. O’Reilly Auto Enterprises, LLC, No. 18-56188 (August 3, 2020), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed whether a district court abused its discretion in denying class certification for an employee’s claim for improper rest breaks under California law where the employer allegedly had a facially defective written rest break policy.
On May 14, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, created new emergency COVID-19-related safety rules that farms must implement if they provide temporary farmworker housing.
The Ninth Circuit recently issued two mostly pro-employer federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) background check decisions.
On May 4, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25.3, extending Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, which was set to expire on May 4, 2020, to May 31, 2020. The governor’s office also released Washington’s Safe Start plan, detailing a four-phase approach to reopen the state in three-week intervals, which may be adjusted depending on various risk indicators.
Washington State recently issued new protections for workers who are at “high risk” of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The protections, created by Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46, affect both essential businesses and nonessential businesses expecting to reopen between April 13 and June 12, 2020, when the emergency proclamation expires, unless it is lawfully extended in accordance with Washington’s emergency powers laws.
On March 19, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law Washington House of Representatives Bill 2602 (HB 2602), which amends the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include a definition of “race.”