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2015 Day on the Hill Event a Success!

    Submitted by Deidra Nguyen, Legistlative Chair for the South King County HR Assocation.

    The Washington State Human Resource Council’s eleventh annual HR Day on the Hill (#wahrdoth) event was a roaring success and brought together HR and business professionals from across the state eager to learn about legislative developments affecting employers. In fact, the event had to be relocated to a different building to accommodate the record turnout. Several folks avoided the hassle of traffic and parking by taking the fun-filled (and free!) SKCHRA shuttle to and from the event.

    Mike Aitken, Vice President of Government Affairs for SHRM, kicked off the event with a presentation titled HR Public Policy: The 113th Congress and Second-Term Obama Administration. Aitken highlighted the 2015 congressional agenda items likely to impact employers and gave a preview of possible legislative developments at the federal level.

    Unemployment Insurance Director for the Washington Employment Security Department Neil Gorrell, a perennial favorite at HR Day on the Hill, once again managed to make the subject of unemployment compensation interesting. Gorrell’s presentation included a highlight of the ESD’s accomplishments in 2014, including payment of more than $1.1 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and recoupment of $72.1 in wage overpayments.

    Bob Battles, Government Affairs Director for the Association of Washington Business, highlighted several pieces of legislation under consideration that could have a big impact on employers. For example, Substitute House Bill 1006 would make employers liable for triple (rather than merely double) the amount of wages wrongfully withheld. House Bill 1163 would require employers to provide employees with paid vacation, accrued at the rate of two hours of leave for every 40 hours worked. House Bill 1701 would prohibit employers from asking applicants about arrests or convictions before determining that the applicant was otherwise qualified for a position. These bills, and many many more, are highlighted in the Employment Law Bill Report available here.

    Doric Olson, Senior Policy Advisor for the Washington Department of Labor & Industries, gave an overview of L&I’s various programs aimed at promoting its mission to “Keep Washington safe and working.” Olson also shared some interesting figures and statistics regarding L&I’s work in 2014:

    • 2.58 million Washington workers are covered by L&I.
    • On overage, more than 250 workers are injured each day in Washington.
    • L&I charged six doctors with felony fraud in 2014.

    Olson also previewed L&I’s new predetermination program, which will allow employers to seek advisory opinions from L&I about whether a worker may be lawfully classified as an independent contractor under the laws enforced by L&I.

    Catharine Morisset, Shareholder at Jackson Lewis (and SKCHRA member), highlighted employment and labor litigation trends, including recent case law at the federal and state level and enforcement trends at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.

    The day ended with an opportunity to visit the House and Senate floors to witness the legislative process firsthand.

    Visit the Washington State Human Resources Council’s website for a copy of the Day on the Hill presentation materials. Additional information about the subjects discussed at Day on the Hill is also available here:


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