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Workplace Compliance Rules for the Pacific States

Emily Hartman /

[Updated 12/9/20]

Below is a round-up of workplace compliance rules and regulations employers need to know to keep their business compliant. If you believe there may be a discrepancy between a state and local order that affects you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Alaska COVID-19 State Regulations

Cloth Face Covering Mandate

Cloth face coverings must be worn by all non-essential workers. Retail and restaurant employees must also wear cloth face coverings. Health Mandate 016 has further details.

California COVID-19 State Regulations

California-specific COVID-19 regulations can be found here >>

Hawaii HR and Workplace Compliance Rules and Regulations

January 1: Updated Documentation Requirements for Proof of Victim Status Takes Effect

Who: Hawaii employers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: Under existing law, when an employee requests unpaid leave because they have been a victim of domestic or sexual violence, employers can request documentation to verify the employee’s victim status. Effective January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 2638 amends the document requirements for proving victim status in order to “make consistent the types of documents accepted as proof.”

The employer may verify victim status by requesting that the employee furnish:

  • Certified or exemplified restraining orders, injunctions against harassment, and documents from criminal cases;
  • Documentation from a victim services organization or domestic or sexual violence program, agency, or facility, including a shelter or safe house for victims of domestic or sexual violence; or
  • Documentation from a medical professional, mental health care provider, attorney, advocate, social worker, or member of the clergy from whom the employee or the employee’s minor child has sought assistance in relation to the domestic or sexual violence.

An employer cannot request documentation to verify an employee’s status as a victim more than once every six months. In a case where the proof is a protective order with an expiration date, the employer may not request proof of victim status again until after the expiration date of said order, or any extension thereof, whichever is later.

How:

  • Update policies and procedures to comply with the new documentation requirements. Revise your HR Manual and employee-facing documents as needed.
  • Train HR personnel on the updated documentation requirements.

Additional Resources:

SB 2638

Hawaii COVID-19 State Regulations

Face Mask Mandate

All residents are strongly encouraged to wear face masks in accordance with the CDC.

Essential businesses must require customers to wear a face mask as well as employees who have contact with the public or goods that will be purchased. See page 12 of the Eighth supplementary proclamation related to the COVID-19 Emergency -for further details.

Additional Resources

NEW: Hawaii COVID-19 Guidance

Eighth Supplementary Proclamation Related To The Covid-19 Emergency

Additional Guidance On Face Masks To Prevent The Spread Of COVID-19

Hawaii COVID-19 Information & Resources

Hawaii Department of Health

Oregon COVID-19 State Regulations

NEW: COVID-19 Workplace Temporary Standards

Update 12/9/20: Oregon OSHA released guidance that allows some businesses a “grace period” to meet the COVID-19 Temporary Standard deadlines. This condition is only for certain businesses (listed in Executive Order 4.a and 4.b) and must meet certain conditions to allow for the delay. For businesses that don’t fall under the 4.a and 4.b of Executive Order 20-65, they must comply with the requirements and deadlines set in the COVID-19 Temporary Standards. There are instances where Oregon OSHA may make a different determination. To help businesses understand the new guidance, a fact sheet was released about the Provisions with Delayed Effective Dates. KPA recommends businesses strive to meet the deadlines originally set forth by Oregon OSHA.

Update 11/25/20: Oregon OSHA issued two additional resources for employers: the Temporary Rule Addressing The COVID-19 Workplace Risks Questions and Answers (dated 11/23/2020) and the COVID-19 Temporary Standard for All Workplaces Fact Sheet (dated 11/24/2020) released.

Update 11/16/20: Oregon OSHA released a Model Policy for Notification of Employees When COVID-19 Exposure Occurs. The model policy can be found in English and Spanish.

On November 5, 2020, Oregon OSHA adopted COVID-19 temporary standards to protect workers from the virus. As an employer, you are now liable for any noncompliance to COVID-19-related safety practices and standards.

Effective: November 16, 2020 to May 4, 2021

The adopted temporary rule states that all workplaces are responsible for:

  • By November 16, 2020:Posting the Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 Hazards Poster (English Spanish).
  • Ensuring employees practice social distancing throughout the course of their tasks and movement.
  • Providing employees with face coverings and requiring all workers, visitors, and customers to wear a face covering when on-site. This requirement also extends to workers driving in the same vehicle.
  • Ensuring high-contact surfaces are sanitized frequently.
  • By December 7, 2020: Developing and implementing an infection control plan. Employers with more than 10 employees must have written documentation of their plan and make it accessible to employees.
  • By December 7, 2020: Conducting a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment.
  • By December 21, 2020: Training employees on how to prevent or reduce infection, social distancing, sanitation and hygiene procedures, and infection notification process.
  • By January 6, 2021: Assessing workplace indoor air quality effectiveness and ensure ventilation changes are made.

How:

  • Print and post the Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 Temporary Standard for All Workplaces (English Spanish
  • Conduct a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, review your Infection Control Plan, and your indoor ventilation system. Review and audit your current practices, identify areas for improvement, and additional protocols you may need to implement.
  • Review the final language with your legal counsel to ensure you have a clear understanding of what is required of employers. 
  • Work and communicate with your employees about the importance of a safe work environment. Train them on the proper procedures you’ve put in place.

Additional Resources

Temporary Rule

Overview Table

Exposure Risk Assessment Form

Face Covering Mandate

Update 11/20/20: Oregon issued new face mask guidance for employers with it’s Statewide Freeze Guidance – Masks, Face Coverings, Face Shields (November 18, 2020) and Statewide Freeze Guidance – General Guidance for Employers (November 18, 2020). Employers must comply with the most recent Oregon OSHA emergency temporary standards, comply with the Statewide Freeze Guidance (see first link), continue to assess their work environment, and provide masks and face coverings to employees at no cost to employees who don’t have one.

Face shields should be worn on a limited basis, and shouldn’t be worn alone without a face covering or face mask. Face shields may be used in limited situations, provided on page 3 of the Statewide Freeze Guidance – Masks, Face Coverings, Face Shields (November 18, 2020).

Update 10/21/2020: Revisions were made to the Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance to require face coverings inside and outside of all private or public workplaces.

Update 8/13/20: Statewide Guidance on Masks, Face Coverings, and Face Shields was issued for all state residents and businesses outlining what everyone is responsible for in public indoor and outdoor spaces as well as private office spaces.

Under Executive Order 20-30, effective July 1, 2020, all Oregon residents are required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces. Exceptions to the rule include people with disabilities, medical conditions, or children under 12.

Businesses are encouraged to provide face covering supplies to customers and to work with employees who interact with the public on how to interact with customers who aren’t wearing face coverings or choose not to wear one in the business facility.

Additional Resources

Executive Order 20-30

Statewide Mask, Shield, Face Covering Guidance

Oregon Health Authority Website

Face Covering Facts

Building a Safe and Strong Oregon Website

Oregon OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Advisory Memo 6.27b

Unemployment Expansion

Who: Oregon employers and employees

When March 8, 2020 through September 12, 2020

What: The Oregon Employment Department issued new rules to soften the eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits related to COVID-19.

The following “COVID-19 related situations” will extend unemployment benefit support to workers impacted by the virus:

  • Workers who are unable to work because they are sick with COVID-19;
  • Workers who are unable to work because they have been subject to mandatory quarantined due to possible COVID-19 exposure;
  • Workers who are unable to work because, at the advice of their health care provider or by advice issued by public health officials to self-quarantine due to a possible risk of exposure to, or spread of, COVID-19;
  • Workers who are unable to work because their employer has stopped all operations because of COVID-19;
  • Workers who are unable to work because they have to stay at home to care for a child due to the closure of schools, child care providers, or similar facilities due to COVID-19; and
  • Workers who are being asked to work in violation of a mandatory quarantine or the Governor’s directives.

Although the above exceptions extend eligibility to employees affected by COVID-19, these individuals still need to meet unemployment benefit requirements including that they are able and available to work as well as actively seeking work.

People are not disqualified from receiving unemployment insurance benefits under the following circumstances:

  • The person is discharged because of a COVID-19 related situation;
  • The person quits work because of a COVID-19 related situation;
  • The person fails to apply for work when referred by the employment office or the direct because of a COVID-19 related situation; or
  • The person fails to accept an offer of work because of a COVID-19 related situation.

An individual will not be deemed “unable to work” if they are:

  • Quarantined by order of a health official or health care provider but aren’t sick
  • Homesick with COVID-19 or sick with similar symptoms, without turning down an offer to work
  • Hospitalized because of COVID-19 for less than half a week, without turning down an offer to work during that week.
  • Offered work and do not accept it because they are sick with COVID-19, or a condition with similar flu-like symptoms

A person is “actively seeking work” if their search efforts are impaired by COVID-19, or are unemployed because of a COVID-19-related situation, and:

  • They are their employer intend on the person resuming work for their employer when COVID-19 related situations permit and the person stays in contact with their employer, so they can return to work when the employer permits; or
  • They or their employer do not intent the employee to return to work for their employer and the person is doing what they can to find employment.

An individual won’t be deemed “unavailable to work” because they are

  • In quarantine or isolation as ordered by a health official or health care provider, even if their employer had work that they could have provided;
  • They are home solely because they lack childcare for a child or children de to school or daycare closures or curtailments; or
  • They are home to take care of a family member due to the effects of COVID-19.

How:

  • Consult with your legal counsel as you make decisions regarding employment.
  • Consider whether your business should participate in Oregon’s Work Share Program
  • As you make employment changes, provide support to your employees, educate them about their options, and make yourself available to answer their questions and concerns.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Executive Order No. 20-03

Employment Department Temporary Rules for Unemployment Insurance Benefits Flexibility

COVID-19 Related Business Layoffs, Closures, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Paid Sick Leave

Who: Oregon employers and employees

What: Oregon Paid Sick Leave (OPSL) applies to employers with 6 or more employees in Portland and employers outside of Portland with 10 or more employees. Employers must provide a minimum of 40 hours of paid sick leave/year either at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked or front-loaded at the beginning of the year.

OPSL is available to employees if:

  • They or a family member becomes sick, injured, is experiencing mental illness, or needs to visit a health care professional.
  • They have to care for their child if the child’s school or care provider has closed because of a public health emergency. If the employee doesn’t have paid leave available, unpaid time off option may be available through the Oregon Family Leave Act.
  • If employers temporarily shut down the business because of a public health emergency.

If an employee is terminated, employers don’t have to pay out accrued sick time. If employees are rehired within 180 days, employers must restore all unused paid sick leave and the employee’s eligibility to OPSL.

If an employee wants to save their sick leave, employees can stay home on unpaid leave.

The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) may also be helpful for some employees. Employers with 25 or more employees must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, through OFLA, to care for themselves or their family members with a serious medical condition. If the employee has used up all of their available sick time, they may qualify for 12 weeks of protected OFLA serious health condition or sick child leave.

Considering COVID-19, this leave may be help an employee who becomes sick with COVID-19 or needs to care for a family member who is ill. Caring for a child whose school or childcare facility has closed because of a public health order is also protected by OFLA.

How:

  • Review and update your leave policies as needed; educate your employees about their options as necessary.
  • There may be potential discrepancies between state and local orders. If you believe there may be a discrepancy affecting you or your business, you should contact your local government and/or competent local counsel for further advice.

Additional Resources

Oregon Paid Sick Leave

Oregon Sick Time Poster

Oregon Sick Time FAQs

Washington HR and Workplace Compliance Rules and Regulations

January 1: New Minimum Salary Thresholds for Overtime for Exempt Workers

Who: Washington State employers with exempt workers

When: Effective January 1, 2021

What: The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has issued new minimum salary thresholds for overtime-exempt employees for 2021. Salary thresholds for exempt employees are as follows:

  • $821.40 per week ($42,712.80 per year) for businesses with 1 to 50 employees (i.e., at least 1.5 times the state’s minimum wage);
  • $958.30 per week ($49,831.60 per year) for businesses with 51 or more employees (i.e., at least 1.75 times the state’s minimum wage).

The new minimum wage also changes the salary thresholds for computer professionals paid by the hour. The state’s threshold is higher than the federal threshold of $35,568 per year in all cases.

How:

  • Analyze which exempt employees’ salaries will not meet the 2021 state threshold. Determine whether you will increase their salaries or transition them to nonexempt status.
  • Work with payroll personnel to prepare for new 2021 salary levels and exempt/nonexempt status as appropriate.

Additional Resources:

WAC 296-128 sections 500–545

Salary Threshold Implementation Schedule

Hourly Computer Professional Phase-in Schedule

Changes Made to Washington’s Overtime Rules

Overtime Rules Resources

Changes to Overtime Rules Q&A

Washington COVID-19 State Regulations

Face Covering Mandate

As of June 26, 2020, residents must wear a face covering while out in public,  which includes indoor and outside public spaces. Exemptions are outlined in the Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03 on page 2.

Businesses must also require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and businesses can refuse to serve customers that don’t comply.

Update 7/24/20: An Order from the Secretary of Health declared that face coverings must be worn in common areas in apartments, nursery homes, hotels, and university housing in the hallways and elevators effective July 25, 2020. Additionally, everyone must wear a face covering in public and non-public settings including outdoor areas, hallways, and stairwells, garages, kitchens, etc.

Additional Resources

New: Order Of The Secretary of Health 20-03.1 Face Coverings

Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03 Face Coverings

Washington State Department of Health Face Cloth Coverings

Face Masks or Cloth Face Coverings

“High Risk” Employees Receive Additional Protections

Who: Washington employers and employees considered “high risk”

When: Effective immediately through June 12, 2020

What: Governor Jay Inslee released a proclamation restricting employers from doing certain things that could put their “high risk” employees at even higher risks. “High risk” is defined by the CDC and includes any employee with an underlying medical condition (e.g., diabetes, heart or lung conditions) or is 65 years old or older.

Employers may require an employee provide medical documentation, although employers should be accepting of any delays due to the pandemic. Employers should not delay accommodating employees because of a delay in medical documentation.

Under this proclamation, employers must:

  • Identify and use alternative work options, like working from home or social distancing, to protect these employees;
  • Allow “high risk” employees who can’t use alternative work options to use approved accrued leave or unemployment in any type of schedule the employee needs;
  • Keep employer-related health insurance active for “high risk” employees who have used all of their accrued leave, until they can return to work; and
  • Not take any adverse action against “high risk” employees for taking time off.

The proclamation also prohibits all employers and labor unions from enforcing contracts that contradict or interfere with the proclamation and/or or its intent.

How:

  • Work with your onsite employees to determine who may be at “high risk” and need further accommodations.
  • Base accommodations on each employees’ job and what they are comfortable doing
  • Review your health insurance benefit policies and procedures to ensure they will continue to accommodate any “high risk” employees who may need continued coverage during leave.
  • Ensure all managers are aware of the proclamation and take steps to ensure compliance.

Additional Resources

Amending Proclamation 20-05

Washington Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus Common Questions

Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamations

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