Bill changing independent contractor test would affect pay and benefits
Monday, March 11, 2019
Legislation addressing workers’ compensation, paid family leave and independent contractor status led business conversations in the Capitol during week 7 of the legislative session.
House Bill 2498, a bill that changes the test to determine independent contractor status, was heard in the House Rules Committee on Monday, March 4. This bill would flip independent contractor law upside down and would have significant impact on benefits, pay and contract status for all independent contractors in Oregon. Legislators are discussing possible exemptions, and another public hearing is expected.
Workers’ comp conversations have persisted as stakeholders wait to see if Gov. Kate Brown will pursue SAIF’s capital surplus to help pay the Public Employees Retirement System debt. This potential sweep to Oregon’s workers’ comp system will likely lead to an increase in rates for employers. Stakeholders are also closely watching HB 3022, which would change Oregon workers’ compensation rules. This issue will remain at the forefront of business conversations over the next few weeks.
HB 3262, the 2019 subsidized employer tax, was introduced early in the week. This bill would impose a tax on employers whose employees receive public assistance. The purpose of this legislation is to help fill the remaining gaps in the Medicaid budget, which was already partially filled following the passage of HB 2010. A public hearing will likely be scheduled in the next few weeks.
Looking ahead, paid family leave legislation (HB 3140, HB 3031, and SB 947) is scheduled for morning and evening public hearings March 25 to hear from as many people as possible. The proposals look to extend leave time and employer contribution. Businesses are involved in conversations, and we expect a lively debate to occur in the coming weeks.