Oregon Passes Law Regulating Employee Work Schedules

Oregon Passes Law Regulating Employee Work Schedules

On August 8, 2017, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 828 into law.  The law will take effect on July 1, 2018, and applies to employers in the food service, hospitality, and retail industries.  An employer will be covered by the law if it has at least 500 employees worldwide.  Separate entities that form an “integrated enterprise” are considered a single employer for purposes of counting the number of employees.  The law provides four factors used to determine whether entities are an “integrated enterprise”:

1)         The degree of interrelation between the operations of multiple entities;

2)         The degree to which the entities share common management;

3)         The degree to which the entities have centralized control over labor relations; and

4)         The degree of common ownership or financial control over the entities.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor Industries will establish additional guidance for employers in determining whether they are part of an “integrated enterprise.”

What Does The New Law Require?

“Good Faith Estimate” of Employee Work Schedule At Time of Hire

The law applies to nonexempt employees of covered employers.  Employers will be required to provide a written “good faith estimate” of the employee’s work schedule at the time of hire.  The “good faith estimate” should include the median number of hours the employee can expect to work in an average 1-month period and explains the voluntary standby list.

Voluntary Standby List

The voluntary standby list is a list of employees who may be requested to work additional hours to address an unexpected absence or unanticipated need.  The list is voluntary and employees may request to be removed from the list.  Employees on the standby list are not required to accept additional hours offered.  If an employee requests to be removed from the list or declines to work additional hours under the standby list, an employer may not retaliate against the employee on that basis.  

Advance Notice of Work Schedule

Employers are required to provide employees with a work schedule in writing at least 7 calendar days before the first day of the work schedule.  The employer is required to post the written work schedule in a conspicuous and accessible location.  The work schedule must include all work shifts and on-call shifts for the work period.  If the employer requests changes to the written work schedule after the advance notice required above, the employer must provide timely notice of the change and the employee may decline any work shifts not included in the written work schedule.  An employee may request, in writing, changes in their written work schedule to add the employee to a shift.  This type of work schedule change is not subject to the advance notice requirements above.

Employee Input On Work Schedule

At the time of hire and during employment, an employee may identify limitations or changes in the employee’s works schedule availability.  The employee may request not to be scheduled for certain shifts or at certain locations, and an employer may not retaliate against an employee for making such a request.  An employee may be required to give reasonable verification of the need for the request.  An employer is under no obligation to grant an employee’s request under this portion of the statute.

Compensation for Work Schedule Changes

An employer will be required to pay an additional hour of regular wages to an employee if they make any of the following changes after the advance notice requirement:

Changing the date/start/end time of the employee’s work shift with no loss of hours,

1)         Scheduling the employee for an additional shift, or

2)         Adding more than 30 minutes of work time to the employee’s shift.

An employer will also be required to pay one-half time of the employee’s regular rate of pay per hour for each scheduled hour that the employee does not work when the employer:

1)         Subtracts hours from their shift before or after they report for duty,

2)         Changes the date, start, or end time of the employee’s work shift resulting in a loss of work shift hours,

3)         Cancels the employee’s work shift, or

4)         Does not ask the employee to perform work when the employee is scheduled for an on-call shift.

There are a host of circumstances where a work schedule change does not result in compensation for the employee.  This includes if the employee’s start or end time is changed by 30 minutes or less, an employee mutually agrees with another employee to swap shifts or coverage, the employer subtracts hours for disciplinary reasons for just cause, and employee requests for a work schedule change.  For a full list of all of the exceptions, please read Section 7 of SB 828 linked at the top of the article.

How Will The Law Be Enforced?

Employees asserting a violation of this law may file a complaint with the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries or file a civil action in court.  In addition to any damages provided under the law, additional penalties may be assessed for violations.

Contributor: Michelle L. Covington, Attorney at Law | Weintraub Tobin