WageWatch Ibrief Blog


Archive for July, 2019


Courts historically found a marijuana-positive drug test sufficient grounds to terminate an employee or refuse to hire someone; employers were safe to move forward without worrying about an individual being approved to use medical marijuana or if an employee was impaired at work.  Problems arise when federal law conflicts with state law.    Based on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I illegal drug—even for medical purposes.


Many states and local jurisdictions have enacted anti-discrimination laws concerning marijuana use.  Generally, such laws prohibit employers from taking adverse action against an employee who uses marijuana in conforming with local marijuana laws, if an employee does not consume it and work and is not impaired while on the job.

CMJ Mapurrently, there are 33 states and the District of Columbia with recently approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.  The state laws for medical use varies significantly and not all of them recognize marijuana-approved patients from their states.  The states with medical marijuana laws and their guidelines for usage varies widely.  Some states require patients to register, others don’t allow dispensaries, and not all of them recognize marijuana-approved patients from their states.  In addition, some states allow employers to enact employment policies that prohibit the use of marijuana; these states do not force employers to make accommodations for employee use of marijuana.


In terms of recreational marijuana use, employers can have policies that prohibit the drug’s use and possession while employees are at work.  In addition, employers can prohibit their employees from being impaired by marijuana at work.  In these states, employers must comply with federal and state laws and provide employees with a safe and productive workplace.  At the same time, employers must accommodate employees with disabilities that may require medical marijuana.  Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to make a “reasonable accommodation” to employees with disabilities—especially when workers have a doctor’s note that allows them to use it.
The differences in state laws require Human Resources to be aware of the legal issues involved and the changing legal landscape to ensure drug testing policies are legal and enforceable.  The following steps can ensure that your organization maintains a safe working environment with regards to employee medical marijuana use while reducing the risk of costly legal claims:

  • Review the company’s current drug testing policies to the extent that they test for marijuana, and determine whether state law requires exceptions to testing policies as a reasonable accommodation
  • Train managers on how to handle reasonable accommodation requests by disabled employees who are certified, medical marijuana users
  • Review policies regarding illegal drugs and disabilities to ensure that each complies with your state’s current medical marijuana laws
  • Ensure that managers and human resources employees are properly trained on how to determine (and document) employee impairment when an employer suspects that drug use (legal or otherwise) is causing workplace issues

WageWatch offers accurate, up-to-date benefit surveys, salary surveys and pay practices data that will allow you to stay current with the times.  This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards.  For more information on our services, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.




Family Med Leave

Oregon officially became the most inclusive law in the country, with respect to paid family and medical leave, when Governor Katy Brown signed the bill into law last week (July 1, 2019).

  • The law covers 12 weeks annually, to new parents, victims of domestic violence, and people who need to take care of an ill family member or themselves; an extra two weeks is given for those giving birth (New Jersey is the only other state which includes domestic violence victims in paid leave legislation)
  • Family is defined to include “any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with a covered individual is the equivalent of a family relationship”
  • Oregon will be the first to pay low-income works 100% of their wages when they’re off, with weekly benefits capped at around $1,215 (you must earn at least $1,000 in wages a year to qualify)
  • The law will be funded through a payroll tax (not to exceed 1% of employee wages)
  • Employees pay 60% of the total rate and employers will cover the remaining 40%
  • Employers with less than 25 employees will not pay into the program
  • The program will start taking contributions in 2022, and people will be able to start using it in 2023
  • Research suggests paid family and medical leave improves participation rates for new mothers in the labor force, with corresponding benefits in pay equality, infant and child health, and lowers poverty rate
  • The program will take a few years to get started because it’s a new social insurance program, just like unemployment insurance or workers compensation.

The additional states that have adopted a paid family and medical leave policy include the following (along with the effective date):

    • California (2004)
    • New Jersey (2009)
    • Rhode Island (2014)
    • New York (2018)
    • District of Columbia (2020)
    • Washington (2020)
    • Massachusetts (2021)
    • Connecticut (2022)

Paid leave is on the national legislative agenda with new momentum.  This new law in Oregon represents the eighth state, along with the District of Columbia, to adopt a paid family and medical leave policy.  Full wage compensation for American workers in poverty will likely motivate more employees to take advantage of paid leave benefits.

At WageWatch our compensation consultants are focused on your organization’s compensation needs and ready to help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives and that your pay practices are fair, equitable and non-discriminatory.  We can provide your business with compensation surveys and salary reports to help you establish a budget for your merit pay program, including bonuses and incentives.  Our innovative company is a leader in the collection of data for surveys and salary reports, which allows us to provide services to a wide range of industries in both the private and public sector.  To learn more about our compensation surveys, salary reports, and other services.  Please call 480-237-6130 or contact us online.


July 4th

This blog post provides you with a quick overview of interesting facts about this great holiday.  How many of these facts are you aware of?  Test your knowledge!

  1. July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when Congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
  2. Only John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; all the others signed later.
  3. Thomas Jefferson changed the wording of the Declaration of Independence from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness.”
  4. The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
  5. The first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
  6. President John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July. Adams and Jefferson (both signed the Declaration) died on the same day within hours of each other in 1826.
  7. On July 4, 1778, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate the holiday.
  8. Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.
  9. Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year. They also spend $92 million on chips, $167.5 million on watermelon, and $341.4 million on beer.
  10. NYC has America’s Biggest Fourth of July Fireworks Display.
    – The show lasts 25 minutes, firing off approximately 3,000 shells per minute.
    – It takes 55 crew members 10 days to set up the fireworks.
    – More than 3 million spectators view it.

WageWatch Wishes You a Happy Fourth of July!


Posted in Uncategorized on July 2nd, 2019 · Comments Off on 10 FUN FACTS FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY