New rules for Veterans Day for Oregon employers

us-marinesDuring the last legislative session, the Oregon Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 1, providing for Veterans Day time off for veterans. The law became effective immediately upon signing. Beginning this Veterans Day, November 11, 2013, Oregon employers will be required to provide qualifying employees with Veterans Day off. The employer’s policies determine whether the day off is paid.

Employees who are veterans as defined by Oregon law and are scheduled to work on Veterans Day may ask for that day off. They must provide 21 days’ notice of their intent to take the day off and document their status as a qualifying veteran.

Upon receipt of the request, an employer must determine whether providing the time off would cause “significant economic or operational disruption,” or whether allowing time off is an “undue hardship” as described in Oregon discrimination law. If so, the employer is not required to provide the day off.

At least 14 days before Veterans Day the employer must tell the employee whether time off will be provided and whether it will be paid or unpaid.

If an employer decides not to provide the time off to one veteran, the employer must deny time off to all employees who requested time off for Veterans Day or deny time off to the minimum number of employees necessary to avoid significant economic or operational disruption or an undue hardship.

The employer must allow any qualified veteran denied Veterans Day off to choose, with the employer’s approval, a single day off within the year after Veterans Day on which the employee worked as a replacement.

A veteran is defined by Oregon law to be anyone who has served with the armed forces of the United States and was discharged or released under honorable conditions under one or more of the following conditions:

  1. The veteran was in the armed forces for more than 90 days before January 31, 1955.
  2. The veteran was in the armed forces for more than 178 consecutive days after January 31, 1955.
  3. The veteran served less than 178 days after June 31, 1955 and was discharged or released from active duty because of a service connected disability or the veteran has a disability rating from the Veterans Affairs.
  4. The veteran served less than 178 days after June 31, 1955 and was discharged or released after spending at least one day in a combat zone.
  5. The veteran served less than 178 days after June 31, 1955 and received a combat campaign ribbon or an expeditionary medal for service in the armed forces.
  6. The veteran served less than 178 days after June 31, 1955 and is receiving a non-service connected pension from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

What should employers do?

There are no notice requirements under the law, but employers should review their policies in light of the new law and amend their employee handbook as appropriate.

Employers should also establish an internal policy for dealing with Veterans Day off requests. This policy should include a method to intake requests and respond no later than 14 days before Veterans Day. In addition, employers should create a process to ensure that employees who are denied the requested Veterans Day off, are offered and allowed the opportunity to take another day off within the appropriate time period.

What to remember

This Bill had exceptionally broad support in the Oregon Legislature, not surprising given its focus on veterans of the U.S. armed services. Although it provides for a day off, paid or unpaid, for veterans, it does relieve employers of the obligation to provide a specific day off and allows employers to meet their business needs. The primary burden imposed by this new law will likely be administrative, determining veterans status, keeping track of who has asked for Veterans day leave, providing a timely response, and providing delayed Veterans Day leave where necessary.

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HealthCare.gov: Why didn’t the White House use WordPress? – POLITICO.com

Great read on WordPress and why its a good solution. HealthCare.gov is “a disaster,” “a failure” and “excruciatingly embarrassing” for the Obama administration. Why didn’t they just use WordPress? Of the 14 states running their own health insurance marketplaces, five — Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Colorado and Hawaii — decided to use WordPress to powerto power their sites. Other markets, such as Illinois, which selected a federal partnership option, also tapped WordPress. Well these sites are far from perfect, they’ve performed much better than HealthCare.gov.

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Jobs top issue in Pratt & Whitney-Machinists talks

Pratt & Whitney's Cheshire Engine Center is seen at 500 Knotter Drive in Cheshire in this file photo. The company shut down the Cheshire plant, and an engine repair shop in East Hartford, in 2010, shifting hundreds of jobs to Georgia, Singapore and Japan. David Krechevsky Republican-American

Pratt & Whitney’s Cheshire Engine Center is seen at 500 Knotter Drive in Cheshire in this file photo. The company shut down the Cheshire plant, and an engine repair shop in East Hartford, in 2010, shifting hundreds of jobs to Georgia, Singapore and Japan. David Krechevsky Republican-American

HARTFORD — As jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney and the Machinists Union begin negotiations Thursday for a new contract governing pay, benefits, work rules and other conditions, the top issue will be jobs.

Neither company nor union representatives would discuss the issues expected to dominate negotiations, but union officials have said they may not recommend a contract for ratification without specific language about the number of jobs.

“If management does not come to the bargaining table with a commitment to keep our jobs in Connecticut, you will have a crucial decision to make,” the union said in a message on its website to members this summer. “If management continues to ignore covered work and past commitments, how can the committee recommend a contract?”

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Machinists Union Ratifies United Contract But Says US Airways Drags Its Feet

The International Association of Machinists is applauding a new deal covering 28,000 workers at United Airlines, but says it cannot seem to make any headway on two US Airways contract.

The United deal runs through 2016 and covers fleet service workers, agents, and others. It provides wage boosts between 19% and 56% over the life of the contract, including immediate increases between 7% and 29%, the IAM said. With about 65% of eligible members voting, the contract won approval in excess of 70%, the union said.

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NY Times Profiles IAM Lobstermen in Maine

10_22_2013_lobsterwoman

Yvonne Rosen, a member of the IAM’s Maine Lobstermen’s Union, tosses back undersized lobsters while pulling traps off the coast of Maine. (Courtesy: Craig Dilger for The New York Times)

The IAM’s year-long campaign to help establish the Maine Lobstermen’s Union was given extensive print and photo coverage in the October 10 edition of the New York Times. The article, titled “Some Wary as Lobstermen Unite,” dominated the front page of the paper’s National section and described how organizers signed up more than 600 men and women to create the first IAM local lodge dedicated exclusively to Maine’s lobster fishermen.

Lobstermen in Maine are reeling from a glut in lobsters that has driven the price to a 40-year low, leading many to question how long independent boat owners can survive.

“The Times article gives a little too much space to those who oppose unions and think lobster fishermen should remain independent, isolated and unorganized,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Lynn Tucker. “Maine’s lobster fishermen are certainly independent but they’re smart too. They know the best way to have influence in this tightly-controlled industry is to join together to protect their jobs and their way of life. That’s what’s on the line here and the article does a good job of telling that story.”

Early this year, a group of lobsterers from Maine met at IAM’s William W. Winpisinger Education & Technology Center to plan their organizing effort. Click here to see “Maine Lobsterer Planning Program” on the Machinists News Network (MNN). MNN was also there in the spring when the IAM’s Maine Lobstering Union scored two legislative victories on “dragging” and licensing for lobsterers serving in the armed forces.

Click here to watch “IAM Maine Lobstering Union Protects the Industry.”

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