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Legislative Updates

    Below are links and information related to employment law and relevant in our jobs as HR, Managers, or small business owners.


    EEO-1 Pay Data Reports Due Sept. 30

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) told a federal judge 4/3/2019 that it will require employers to turn over pay data, broken down by race, gender and ethnicity, by Sept. 30. EEOC Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic extended the reporting deadline “to accommodate the significant practical challenges” for the agency to collect the pay data, according to a document filed with the court.


    Bill to strengthen Paid Family and Medical Leave program signed into law

     

    OLYMPIA - A bill to provide updates to Washington’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday. House Bill 1399 makes several technical corrections to the new program, and clarifies a key provision related to supplementing wages while an employee is out on leave. The Employment Security Department operates the program.

    “Our Paid Family and Medical Leave program is the best in the nation and was developed to work for both employers and employees – this bill only enhances that,” said Employment Security Commissioner, Suzi LeVine. “By allowing employers the option to supplement an employee’s Paid Family and Medical Leave benefit with other paid leave, many workers won’t be faced with losing income while taking care of themselves or a family member in a critical or challenging time of their lives.”

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, passed with wide bipartisan support and with no opposition from stakeholders in Senate or House committees. More information about Paid Family and Medical Leave can be found at paidleave.wa.gov.


    First Quarter 2019: Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Premium Payments and Reporting

    www.paidleave.wa.gov.

    The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) announced that the deadline for submitting first quarter payments and reports for the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums has been delayed. The first quarter of 2019 premium payments and reports will be due by July 31, 2019.

    Information about the new timeline and related requirements is available at https://www.paidleave.wa.gov/employers. A copy of the official announcement is available at https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAESD/bulletins/2361e30

    What you need to know.

    • Separate reports and payments for the first and second quarters of 2019 are due by July 31, 2019. This change is for 2019 only.
    • The ESD will not assess fines or penalties for reporting and remitting the first quarter by July 31, 2019.
    • Eligibility for the 2019 Small Business Exemption from employer Medical Leave Insurance premiums will still be determined using the first quarter reporting.
    • Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits will continue to be available to eligible employees on January 1, 2020.

    Image depicts a woman worker in an ice cream shop and the Paid Family and Medical Leave wordmark

    Image depicts the timeline of phase four rulemaking

    We filed the formal proposed rules (CR102) for phase four of Paid Family and Medical Leave rulemaking.

    Phase four covers:

    • Continuation of benefits
    • Fraud

    Filing the CR102 opens the formal comment period on this phase of rules. The preliminary draft of our required significance analysis is also available for public comment.

    The rulemaking hearings for phase four will be on May 22 and May 29, 2019. Hearing details, including the agenda and remote participation information, are posted on the meetings page of our public comment portal.

    You can participate in rulemaking by:

    • Attending a public hearing (either in-person or remotely) to provide oral comments. Visit the meetings page of our public comment portal for participation details.
    • Submitting written comments on our public comment portal. Comments will be accepted online until 5:00 p.m. on May 29.

    Phase two rules post-adoption notice

    On December 3, 2018, new rules related to phase two of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program took effect. The rules provide guidance on:

    1. Employer Responsibilities;
    2. Small business assistance;
    3. Penalties;
    4. Certain aspects of voluntary plans; and
    5. Other topics to implement the program.

    Because of these rules, many advances are being made to help employers and employees navigate our program requirements. Several high-level updates are below to help employers plan and prepare.

    System updates based on phase two rules:

    • Employer responsibilities, penalties, and audits: The system is designed to accept wage reports, collect premium payments, and assess penalties for incomplete and untimely report filing. Small employers will also be able to contribute payment for the medical portion of premiums and to apply for grants online once employees begin receiving benefits in 2020.
    • Notice: We are working to have the notice to employee and common area program notifications available by the end of 2019.
    • Voluntary plans: Employers can now apply for a voluntary plan and remit the $250 application fee through paidleave.wa.gov/voluntary-plans.

    Our communications team is rolling out employer information to customers as the program develops. If you have questions about implementing these rules or need more information, please email paidleave@esd.wa.gov.

    Any person may petition the agency to initiate a change in rule. Petitions can be found on the Office of Financial Management’s website. Completed forms can be submitted electronically to Rules@esd.wa.gov.

    This communication constitutes the post-adoption notice required by RCW 34.05.362.

    In case you missed it: Q1 reporting deadline changed to July 31

    Image depicts timeline of program implementation

    On March 13, Paid Family and Medical Leave announced that the reporting timeline for the first quarter of 2019 has been changed to July 2019. 

    • Beginning July 1, employers will submit both Q1 and Q2 reports and premium payments through our online customer management system.
    • This timeline extension will not affect the availability of benefits. Eligible employees can begin applying for benefits in January 2020.

    For more information:

    paidleave.wa.gov


     

    Paid Family and Medical Leave has arrived!

    Posted on behalf of the Washington State Employment Security Department

    In 2018:

    • Close to 1 million pieces of direct mail were sent to employers.
    • ESD presented at more than 260 events across the state.
    • Had 6,739,408 impressions from our ads between the end of Oct. through mid-Dec.
    • Had more than 150,000 visitors to www.paidleave.wa.gov in Dec. alone.

    Get ready to be there for care.

    Since Nov. 30, we've sent out one email per week to over 630,000 employers in Washington outlining what they need to do on Jan. 1, 2019.

    Each of the emails are posted in the Newsroom on our website. 

    Nov. 30, 2018: Important info for your business: New program starts 1/1/2019

    Dec. 6, 2018: Paid Family and Medical Leave premium collection starts 1/1/2019

    Dec. 13, 2018: Start tracking hours and wages on Jan. 1, 2019

    Dec. 20, 2018: Let your employees know about the premium deduction coming on Jan. 1, 2019

    Dec. 28, 2018: Final Reminder! Premium deduction coming on Jan. 1, 2019

    If you haven’t already, now is a great time to download our employer toolkit and review our Employer Page for details about premium collection that started on Jan.1.

    Rulemaking update

    Phase 3 CR-102 Filed

    ESD filed the formal proposed rules (CR-102) for phase 3 of Paid Family and Medical Leave rulemaking.

    Phase Three covers:

    • Benefit applications
    • Benefit eligibility

    Filing the CR-102 opens the formal comment period on this phase of rules. The preliminary draft of our required significance analysis is also available for public comment.

    The rulemaking hearings for Phase Three will be on 3/13/2019 and 3/18/2019. Hearing details, including the agenda and remote participation information, are posted on the meetings page of our public comment portal.

    You can participate in rulemaking by:

    • Attending the public hearing (either in-person or remotely) on 3/13/2019 or 3/18/2019 to provide oral comments.
    • Submitting written comments on our public comment portal. Comments will be accepted online until 5:00 PM on 3/18/2019.

    Phase 5 CR-101 Filed

    ESD filed the preproposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) for the phase 5 of Paid Family and Medical Leave rulemaking.

    Phase 5 covers:

    • Job Protection
    • Benefit Overpayments
    • Miscellaneous

    The CR-101 announces that an agency is planning to write rules on a subject and invites the public to take part in the rulemaking process by submitting ideas or comments about how the rules should be drafted.

    Following the CR-101, ESD holds a public listening session to gather stakeholder input on draft rules. We strongly encourage public participation. The first listening session for Phase 5 will be at 9:00 AM on 1/11/2019 in our Lacey office. Listening session details, including the agenda and remote participation information, are forthcoming on the meetings page of our public comment portal.


    County unemployment numbers for November 2018 released today

    OLYMPIA – County unemployment rates and employment data for November 2018 are now available online. Use the historical estimates report  to view prior months’ data.

    Please keep in mind:  Unemployment rates at the county level are not seasonally adjusted because the sample size is too small to accommodate that additional analysis. Therefore, they should not be compared directly to the seasonally adjusted statewide rate that we announced last week (Monthly employment report)

    ESD has labor market information and tools, including a video tutorial to showcase popular information and data.

    Labor area summaries: https://esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/labor-area-summaries


    New Minimum Wage - $12 per hour - January 1, 2019

    Minimum wage climbs to $12 in 2019 as mandated by voter-approved initiative

    The minimum wage in Washington will increase to $12 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019, for workers age 16 and older.

    The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) enforces the state's wage-and-hour laws, which includes the minimum wage. The state minimum wage applies to most jobs, including those in agriculture.

    Under state law, tips do not count toward a worker’s minimum wage. Also, employers can pay workers under 16 years old 85 percent of the minimum wage. For 2019, that comes out to $10.20 per hour.

    The cities of Sea-Tac, Seattle, and Tacoma have their own minimum wage rates. Check with those cities for specific information.

    When Initiative 1433 passed in the fall of 2016, it set a schedule for Washington’s minimum wage over a four-year period. As a result, in 2020 the state minimum wage will climb to $13.50. For the following year, L&I will calculate the minimum wage by using a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.

    Complete information about the minimum wage is available on L&I’s website (Lni.wa.gov), including details about handling overtime, rest breaks and meals. There’s also a minimum wage announcement online that employers can print off and post.

    L&I investigates all wage-payment complaints. More information about wage and hour laws and workplace right is available on L&I's webpage. Employers and workers may also call 360-902-5316 or 1-866-219-7321.


    Click here for a Monthly Employment Report for July- August for WA. It shows the trends in a chart from 2011 indicating the decrease to date. 

    For additional summaries:

    ESD has labor market information and tools to showcase popular information and data.
    Labor area summaries: https://esd.wa.gov/labormarketinfo/labor-area-summaries


    Phase 3 of WA State Paid Family and Medical Leave rulemaking begins

    Phase 3 Rulemaking Timeline

    The third phase of rulemaking is set to begin in August following the filing of the CR101.

    This phase of rules is the first of three related to paid family and medical leave benefits. It covers:

    • Benefit applications
    • Benefit eligibility

    Please join us to share your thoughts at the listening session at 9 a.m. on Aug. 9 in Lacey

    WHEN: August 9, 2018 | 9 a.m.

    WHERE: Employment Security Department | 640 Woodland Square Loop | Lacey, Washington


    Paid Family and Medical Leave Infographic

    Shareable resources

    Help us spread the news about Paid Family & Medical Leave by sharing these resources with your networks!


    How do you make a rule?

    If you're curious about rulemaking in general, you can find information on the department's process on our rulemaking webpage.

    For information specific to the Paid Family & Medical Leave rules, including timelines for each phase of the process (there are four), visit our public comment portal.


    HR Day on the Hill
    February 1, 2018
    Attendees from Mt Baker Chapter: Robert, Edie, Shannon, and Harneet
    (the following notes written by Harneet)


    Thank you for sponsoring us to attend HR Day on the Hill, personally it was my first time attending and visiting the State Capital.

    There were a number of speakers opening with Meredith Nethercutt, a SHRM associate who resides in Washington DC, basically going over the importance of why HR professionals should be involved in legislative matters as well make encouraging a cognitive effort to have presence with their local representatives, as that we do have an influence in legislative matters.

    Randy Littlefield from Department of Labor and Industries spoke, primarily focusing on Workers Compensation and the Abuse that occurs. He provided recent examples of high profile cases that occurred recently within EX law enforcement. Randy provided important steps on how to document a claim properly.

    Kara Craig, an Attorney from the law firm Vigilant, covered the recent movement of the “Me Too” era. She shared examples of sexual harassment claims that are in the media as well from cases she is representing. Stressing the importance of this subject doesn’t matter size of organization, bottom line listen to all claims let voices be heard, and investigate if necessary. Take away - training, training and training - now is the time to educate managers and staff. We want to ensure that our organization has taken action to be preventative.

    Bob Battles who is the Director of Government Affairs from the Association of Washington Business is the one speaker that addressed current bills that are being proposed.  However there is no concreate update to report that I can share for certain that is going to take place because no new bill has been passed.

    The following bills are in legislative that we think that you may find interesting and want to be aware of:

    SHB 1298 / SB 6110 – Statewide Ban the Box currently this is only in Seattle. But we think either this bill or something similar will pass in our state soon

    SB 5996 – Banning Non-Disclosure Agreements as part of pre-employment job offers. NDAs would still be ok in cases of harassment after claim have been made. Bob Battles said this one will likely pass. Might affect some businesses that automatically do NDAs as part of onboarding

    HB 1301 / SB 5528 – Wage & Hour Anti-retaliation. Would create a 90 day protection window after any complaints or questions are made regarding pay. Employee complains about something regarding their pay… can’t fire them for any reason within 90 days or viewed as retaliation. Unsure if this will pass.

    Please visit the following website to look up a bill, it is an awesome resource! http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/  


    Here are some helpful tips for making a difference in the state legislative process:

    To find contact information for your current legislators, including email addresses and web addresses, click here.

    • Take a few moments to customize your email or letter because form letters are not given as much attention.
    • Keep your written correspondence brief. Legislators don't have time to wade through lengthy messages. If you don't receive a response from your legislator within 10-15 days, send your correspondence again. They may not have received your original message.

    If you have questions or would like to know how the Mt. Baker Chapter participates in the legislative process, please feel free to email our Legislative Liaison, Harneet Sihota, at Legislative.mtbakershrm@gmail.com.