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2015 Employment Law Preview

Upcoming changes that impact employers


As we kick off 2015, we look forward to trends or changes in employment law that may impact businesses and their employees. Changes to the law over the last five years have been extensive, and this year promises no deviation from that trend. At Associated Industries, we are grateful to partner with our employers members in helping them successfully prepare for these changes and navigate the challenges they present. Click here to learn more about a few of the predicted changes.

Associated Industries announces new board members and slate of officers

We are pleased to announce the 2015 AI board of directors:

  • Bill Robinson, Chairman; Robinson Research
  • Brandon Tanner, Vice-chair, Rentsys Recovery Systems
  • Cam Buffington, Secretary / Treasurer; Colmac Industries
  • Mark Kammers, immediate past chair; Enduris
  • Kevin Cox, board of directors; CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Pat DeVries, board of directors; DeVries Business Services
  • Randy Kembel, board of directors; Nuvodia IT
  • Don Poffenroth, board of directors, Dry Fly Distillery
  • Christine Smith, board of directors, HOTSTART, Inc.

Minimum wage will increase to $9.47 an hour

Increase effective January 2015

Washington's minimum wage will increase 15 cents to $9.47 an hour beginning January 1, 2015, according to the Department of Labor & Industries.

L&I calculates the state's minimum wage each year at this time as required under Initiative 688. The change reflects a 1.59 percent increase in the federal Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers over the last 12 months ending August 31.

The minimum wage applies to workers in all industries, including agriculture, although 14- and 15-year-olds can be paid 85 percent of the adult minimum wage, or $8.05 an hour.

More information on Washington's minimum wage is available at

State makes changes to Stay at work process

New process expedites application for reimbursements.

Helping your employees maintain a workplace connection after an injury is a proven best practice that not only supports a worker's recovery, but helps you control workers' comp costs. L&I is changing the application process to make it easier and faster for you to apply for Stay at Work reimbursements. The change, which goes into effect September 15, assists you in complying with the order of events for return-to-work practices as outlined in RCW 51.32.090.

Here is an outline of what is changing:

  1. You don't need to send the following documents with the Stay at Work application if you know they are already in the claim file. Go to the L&I website to check the file for the:
  • Activity Prescription Form(s)
  • Health care provider's written approval of your light-duty job description

      2.   For dates worked on or after September 15, the first date the employer sent the job description to the privider is the first date that will be considered for reimbursement:

  • Employers can send a copy of the fax cover sheet with the date/time stamp to ensure dates worked after the fax date can be considered for reimbursement.
  • L&I is also updating the wage and expense reimbursement forms to make it easier fo remployers to report the first dat the job descirption was sent to the provider for reivew and approval.
  • Go to the Stay at Work site to download the new forms with the version date of 09-2014. The updated forms will be available on September 15, 2014.

If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to contact any team member of the Associated Industries Workers' Comp Refund Program at 509.326.6885. 

EEO & AAP: Take action to avoid penalties under new federal mandates

Plan now to implement changes

Several HR obligations related to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plans (AAP) are expanding. Wise employers will begin planning now for the changes to their basic HR systems. To help your organization avoid penalties under these new federal compliance mandates, we have summarized the changes and outlined some action items you should consider. Read more.

Bright Promise Scholarship Program Featured in Eastern Magazine

$225,000 in scholarships provided to EWU students

Since 2008, 57 students have benefited from AI Bright Promise Scholarships at Eastern Washington University. The scholarship program, which was established in 2008, was designed to develop a strong local workforce to ensure the continued growth and success of the Inland Northwest as well as Associated Industries member organizations. The AI Bright Promise Program was recently featured in the EWU “Eastern Magazine.” To see the full feature article on page 32 of the magazine, click here.

In addition to providing scholarship funding at Eastern Washington University, the AI Bright Promise Scholarship program also supports students at the Community Colleges of Spokane. Since 2008, more than $150,000 has been contributed to students attending CCS.  

Funding for the AI Bright Promise Program is made possible through the generous support of Associated Industries, Moda Health and Wells Fargo Insurance Services. 





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