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Key Employment Laws Taking Effect January 1, 2017 (Oregon and Washington)

December 6, 2016

By Daniel L. Rowan

A new year is almost upon employers in the Pacific Northwest.  And with it come new employment laws taking effect January 1, 2017.  This Alert provides a brief summary of the key laws that Oregon and Washington employers should be prepared for as we ring in 2017.


  • Additional Detail Required on Itemized Paystubs (SB 1587)
    • Effective January 1, 2017
    • Itemized paystubs must include:
      • The date of the payment
      • Dates of work covered by the payment
      • Name of the employee
      • Employer name and business registry number or business identification number
      • Address and telephone number of the employer
      • Rate or rates of pay
      • Whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day or week or on a salary, piece or commission basis
      • Gross wages
      • Net wages
      • Amount and purpose of each deduction made during the respective period of service that the payment covers
      • Allowances, if any, claimed as part of minimum wage
      • Unless the employee is paid on a salary basis and is exempt from overtime compensation as established by local, state or federal law, the regular hourly rate or rates of pay, the overtime rate or rates of pay, the number of regular hours worked and pay for those hours, and the number of overtime hours worked and pay for those hours, and
      • If the employee is paid a piece rate, the applicable piece rate or rates of pay, the number of pieces completed at each piece rate and the total pay for each rate
Recommended Action:  Update your paystubs to contain the required information.
  • Employee Right to Inspect Pay and Time Records (SB 1587)
    • Effective January 1, 2017
    • In addition to personnel files, employers must produce time and payroll records within 45 days of a request from an employee or former employees
      • Time records must be produced for the most recent two years
      • Payroll records must be produced for the most recent three years
Recommended Action:  Make sure your time and pay records are organized and easily accessible.  Designate a protocol for responding to requests for these records.
  • Additional Whistleblower Protection for Employees of Public Employers and Non-profits Receiving Public Funds (HB 4067)
    • Effective January 1, 2017
    • Public sector employees and employees of a non-profit receiving public funds may disclose lawfully accessed information related to a violation of federal, state, or local law by their employer
    • Disclosure must be made in good faith and objectively reasonable
    • Disclosure is limited to:
      • A state or federal regulatory agency
      • A law enforcement agency
      • A manager employed by the employer
      • An attorney licensed in Oregon in the furtherance of professional legal services to the employee
    • Certain exceptions for attorneys and contracts apply
    • Any disclosure must still comply with federal law, including HIPAA
    • Public sector employers and employers of a non-profit receiving public funds must adopt a policy that delineates the rights and remedies of employees who make permissible disclosures; employers must provide employees with a paper or electronic copy of the policy
Recommended Action:  Draft a policy that describes the statutory rights and remedies in HB 4067 and provide it to employees. 


  • Minimum Wage Increase (Initiative 1433 – Part I)
    • Effective January 1, 2017
    • Increases the $9.47 minimum wage for the State of Washington as follows: $11.00 (2017), $11.50 (2018), $12.00 (2019) and $13.50 (2020)
    • After 2020, the minimum wage will increase annually based on the consumer price index (CPI-W)
    • Does not preempt local minimum wage laws or ordinances
Recommended Action:  Ensure all your Washington employees are being paid at least the new minimum wage.
  • Mandatory Paid Sick Leave (Initiative 1433 – Part II)
    • Effective January 1, 2018
    • Employers with employees in Washington must provide paid sick leave to those employees
    • Paid sick leave accrues at a rate of one hour of leave for each 40 hours worked
    • No cap on accruals or usage
    • Carryover from year to year may be capped at 40 hours
    • Paid sick leave may be used for an employee’s own illness or injury or to care for a family member
    • Employer may require reasonable notice
    • Employer may require verification of permissive use of leave for absences lasting more than three days
Recommended Action:  Plan to implement a sick leave policy that complies with the new law by January 1, 2018.  Review any applicable collective bargaining agreements to see whether modifications to paid leave provisions are necessary.  Keep an eye out for regulations implementing the new law from Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.