The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) filed a temporary rule that permits manufacturers of certain non-perishable goods to allow employees to voluntarily work up to 91 hours in a workweek. This temporary rule is being adopted as an emergency response to the critical demand for certain non-perishable products during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The temporary rule will be in effect from March 27, 2020, through September 22, 2020.
Oregon manufacturers of non-perishable products typically must comply with the following rules on maximum working hours: (1) employees cannot work more than 13 hours per workday (this rule doesn’t apply to canneries, driers, or packing plants); and (2) employees cannot be required to work more than 55 hours per workweek, but can voluntarily agree to work up to 60 hours in a workweek. Manufacturers of perishable products are allowed to exceed the weekly hours in limited situations. None of these daily and weekly maximum hour limitations for manufacturers apply to certain industries (sawmills, shingle mills, planning mills, or logging camps) or certain workers (some of whom are supervisors, electricians, millwrights, and employees working “in the case of emergency where life or property is in imminent danger”). BOLI’s rule temporarily expands its interpretation of what constitutes an emergency situation. To review the current rules for manufacturers regarding daily and weekly maximum hours, as well as daily overtime, review our Legal Guide, Daily Overtime in Oregon and California.
Under the temporary rule, manufacturers of products which reasonably result in preservation of life and property may claim an exemption from the typical maximum weekly hours requirement (thus allowing employees to voluntarily work up to 13 hours per day for 7 days per week, for a total of up to 91 hours per week) by: (1) providing a notice to BOLI; and (2) obtaining written consent from each employee whom the employer will request to work more than 55 hours in a workweek. The written notice provided to BOLI must include: (1) a description of the reasons for the emergency exemption period; (2) the start and expected end dates of the emergency exemption; and (3) a copy of the employer’s social distancing protocols. The employer must provide the notice to BOLI within 7 calendar days of permitting employees to work more than 55 hours in a workweek. The employee’s written consent to work more than 55 hours per week must include: (1) a description of the employer’s reasons for the emergency exemption; (2) the start and expected end dates of the emergency exemption period; (3) a statement that the employer may ask the employee to work more than 55 hours per week, but not more than 13 hours per day or 91 hours per week; and (4) a statement that the employer will continue to pay overtime over 40 hours per week.
Tips For Employers: BOLI’s temporary rule doesn’t define which employers are manufacturing “products which reasonably result in the preservation of life and property,” but we expect BOLI to narrowly interpret this rule. Manufacturers will need to use their best judgment as to whether they’re eligible under the temporary rule (a few examples we think would qualify: medical supplies, hand sanitizer, or toilet paper). If you want to increase weekly hours for an employee under this temporary rule, Vigilant recommends using the model notices provided by BOLI since they were drafted to satisfy the requirements. Also tailor our Social Distancing Policy to satisfy the requirement of providing BOLI with your social distancing protocols. Contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney with questions or guidance applying this temporary rule.