ORLA Update - October 28, 2022
ORLA Regional Meetings / Oregon Paid Leave / Hiring Practices / Feeding Kids Healthy Options
Want a Seat at the Table? Join us at a Regional Meeting
ORLA members are encouraged to attend one of the 11 regional meetings taking place across the state between November–January. We're hosting these meetings for members and new legislators before they go to Salem in February for the 2023 Legislative Session. Regardless of how the 2022 election turns out, we will have a new Governor, a new Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner, and a record number of new faces in our State House and State Senate. We need to make sure our elected officials understand our industry issues and can be partners with us in improving the climate for small businesses in Oregon. While these hosted events are free for members to attend, an RSVP is required.
Are You Ready for Paid Leave Oregon?
Oregon’s new paid family and medical leave insurance program, Paid Leave Oregon, will soon become operational. Employers must submit payroll contributions to fund the program beginning Jan. 1, and employees can start applying for benefits on Sept. 3. Many employers are still weighing whether to participate in the state-administered leave program or an equivalent program offered by an insurance provider. As a reminder, ORLA is actively looking into private sector solutions for an equivalent plan and will keep members posted. In the meantime, we have developed a one-pager that outlines key dates and helps answer some questions regarding Oregon’s new program. In addition, Oregon Business & Industry hosted a webinar this week with Laura Rosenbaum, an employment attorney with Stoel Rives, and Jessica Bolar, senior product manager for paid family and medical leave with The Standard and covered much of what employers need to know.
Top 5 Ways to Beat the Hiring Crisis (webinar)
Today's job market is exceedingly competitive. Almost every restaurant/hotel is struggling to stay staffed, and they're all looking for someone who is ready to return to work. With so much demand, you'll need a major competitive advantage if you want a chance at landing applicants. ORLA recently co-hosted a webinar presented by our allied member, Workstream, covering tactics used by top industry leaders to successfully staff their locations during the current hiring crisis. To watch the recorded webinar, click here.
Leisure travel driving recovery
U.S. hotel leisure travel revenue will be up 14% this year over 2019 levels, while hotel business travel revenue will come within 1% of 2019 levels, according to a new analysis by AHLA and Kalibri Labs. Surging demand has created historic career opportunities for employees, with growing wages, increased flexibility, and expanded benefits. However, the projections are not adjusted for inflation, and real hotel revenue recovery will likely take several years.
Promote Better-for-You Meals with Kids LiveWell℠
The National Restaurant Association is expanding its Kids Live Well (KLW) program and making it easier for restaurants to offer and promote better-for-you meals to parents and children dining out. The association has created educational resources for restaurants to support these healthier food options. KLW is a voluntary initiative to help restaurants craft healthier kids’ meal options that meet the latest nutrition criteria established by registered dietitians in collaboration with public health and consumer advocates. To learn how you can participate and access resources, visit Restaurant.org.
ORLA keeps members informed and educated with the latest information, industry intelligence and research via several channels. In addition to the blog, members receive more comprehensive insights via the monthly Insider e-newsletter and access to the Member Portal with data and research.
Not a member yet? Visit our Membership page or reach out the ORLA Regional Representative nearest you.
If you own a restaurant or hotel and are interested in attracting workers with disabilities, you've made a wise decision. By embracing a diverse workforce, you are committing to greater inclusivity. Additionally, research published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation suggests that companies that hire workers with disabilities benefit from greater employee loyalty, reduced worker turnover, and greater profits. While you may be clear on the benefits, you may be unclear on how to best attract and hire a more diverse workforce.
Take care of basic tasks needed to hire workers with disabilities
Before you start recruiting, take care of some housekeeping items. First, if you don't have one, get an employer identification number, which is an important step as you set up a new company. The EIN is assigned by the IRS and you'll need it for payroll. Second, make sure your workspace accommodates disabled persons. For example, you may want to add a wheelchair-friendly bathroom and useful technology, like screen readers—which help persons with visual hurdles. Finally, provide disability awareness training for existing employees, preparing them for the changes ahead.
Institute flexible working arrangements if possible
According to Allianz Care, another way you can make your workplace more friendly to people with disabilities is with flexible working arrangements. For example, you might allow people to work remotely. This can make your business more appealing for persons with mobility hurdles, for example. Of course, not all jobs lend themselves to telecommuting. In this case, offering non-standard working hours or intermittent flexibility if you can't commit to a full-time remote schedule is helpful.
Establish a benefits program that takes people with disabilities into account
When it comes to attracting top talent, you need to think about more than salaries. This is especially for people who are disabled. A benefits package that speaks to your target audience can make a big difference. There are many different types of benefits you can implement to attract workers, such as health insurance, retirement planning support, transportation assistance, and child care. One way to figure out what kinds of benefits workers would appreciate is to ask them outright.
Revamp your recruitment processes
Once you have the basics in place to make your workplace friendly for the disabled, it's time to start recruiting. MIUSA offers tips for writing relevant job ads, such as promoting disability inclusion and noting that you have a budget for reasonable workplace accommodations.
Develop an inclusive onboarding and career development program
Once you've hired your new employees, the work doesn't stop. Make sure to include them in a detailed onboarding program. Start by ensuring easy access on their first day and leaving plenty of time to introduce them to the office. Then, make sure you have the technology on hand to accommodate their needs. Share training materials in multiple formats if needed, from written guides to videos. As your new workers settle in, make sure to touch base with them regularly to discuss career planning, so you can support their further development.
Reflect inclusivity throughout your brand
When including workers with disabilities in your business, you want to ensure that your brand reflects this inclusivity. You should share it at every stage, internally and externally, ensuring a clear reflection of your business’s diversity and inclusion values. For example, you want to make sure your marketing efforts are just as inclusive as your hiring efforts. This could involve doing things like making sure your website is compatible with assistive devices and using diverse images of people in your marketing materials.
Creating a more inclusive culture in your business by hiring workers with disabilities benefits all involved. The above article provides some tips to guide you through the process. | Martin Block
ORLA Update - October 14, 2022
Paid Leave Info | UI Refund Checks | Proposed Labor Rule
Oregon Employment Department Refund Checks
ORLA's biggest win during Covid at the state level was in House Bill 3389 where unemployment insurance (UI) tax reform passed. House Bill 3389 was collaborative legislation passed in 2021 to provide short- and long-term pandemic tax relief to Oregon employers while protecting the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This important bill provided assistance to Oregon employers in several ways:
More Independent Contractors May Become Employees - Proposed Labor Rule
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a proposed rule focused on classifying more workers as employees rather than independent contractors. The rule would 1) rescind the current independent contractor rule and 2) utilize a new “economic realities” test to determine if a worker is truly an independent contractor. This test includes factors such as investment, control, opportunity for profit or loss, and whether the work is integral to the employer’s business.
The Department intends to identify more workers as employees, and therefore eligible for standard minimum wage, overtime, and other protections through the Fair Labor Standards Act. In the press release, the Department says misclassification affects a “wide range of workers in the home care, janitorial services, trucking, delivery, construction, personal services, and hospitality and restaurant industries.” Comments on the proposed rule are due by November 28. For more insight on the potential impacts of this rule, read a recent editorial regarding California's law.
Oregon Paid Leave
As you are well aware, Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance program (PFMLI) goes into effect January 1, 2023, and is funded by employer and employee contributions. Employers with less than 25 employees are not required to contribute to the program, but their employees are. Employers will be required to participate in the program or provide an equivalent plan. ORLA is actively looking into private sector solutions for the industry and will keep you posted.
In the meantime, ORLA developed a PFMLI one-pager that helps answer some questions regarding Oregon’s new Paid Leave program. You can also find this on OregonRLA.org here:
Restaurant Economic Insights
The latest insights from the National Restaurant Association shows overall consumer spending in restaurants trended higher in August, inflation-adjusted (real) sales remained down from early-summer levels. Eating and drinking places registered total sales of $86.2B on a seasonally adjusted basis in August. In inflation-adjusted terms, that was $1.3B below the recent peak registered in May 2022.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your Regional Representative.
The Future of Food
Guest Blog | Togather Restaurant Consulting
Sustainability is a growing force on the hospitality industry’s horizon. More and more customers are gravitating towards businesses that advocate for greener practices. In fact, a recent study found that 58% of consumers heavily consider the ecoconsciousness of a business when making purchasing decisions. This number represents a viable opportunity to make greener changes and gain a profit while doing so. In fact, most of the aforementioned consumers are Generation Z. By tapping into this market, we can cater to a growing group of young people whose buying power is only becoming stronger. By neglecting this demographic, we potentially lose a large percentage of market share.
There is a common misconception surrounding the accessibility and affordability of going green. Afterall, it’s no secret that compostable paper goods, organic produce, grass fed beef, or free range chicken can get pricey. While the short term cost may seem overwhelming at first, it pales in comparison to the long term cost of potentially losing customers that view this as their primary motivation to patronize a local business. Many studies have shown that Millennials and Gen Z choose restaurants based on sustainability factors and will actively choose to avoid establishments that do not embrace eco conscious practices. Therefore, neglecting to implement these values, and cater to these demographics, will affect your bottom line.
Monitoring food waste is the most cost-effective way to step into the sustainable future. Food waste and food production are the main contributors to a restaurant’s carbon footprint. Restaurants are being encouraged to make choices that positively impact the environment. Not only on their menus, but across the supply chain. Monitoring your food usage, honing your ordering guides so you never purchase more than what you need, and making informed decisions based on the current market, are all great first steps towards sustainability. However, this system works best in tandem with vendors who are also sustainably-minded. In order to provide more transparency to consumers, methods such as sustainable sources, clean ingredient-shopping, and ethical production serve to create a foundation of sustainability. This foundation serves as a catalyst to propel younger demographics to use their buying power, which currently sits at a staggering $140 billion.
Many operations are turning to their own backyards for resources. Some of the most successful restaurants in the sustainable market are implementing homegrown produce. This can be as simple as raising your own lettuce, maintaining a small hydroponic herb garden, or canning their vegetables to be used year-round. These practices lend a sense of nostalgia and connectivity to the Earth that Millennials and Generation Z strive to protect. Small businesses have an advantage because corporate establishments do not have the capacity to tap into the level of connection that locally-sourced produce can provide.
When it comes down to it, the consumer wants to feel good about their choices and what they put into their bodies. Creating a tangible relationship between humans and what nourishes them builds trust. This trust is founded upon knowledge that the establishment you patronize cares. Consumers are willing to pay well to have the peace of mind that comes with this knowledge. While making this transition could feel daunting or overwhelming, the price paid upfront is small in comparison to future profitability. Caring about the future and our planet is a driving force for Generation Z. Tapping into their initiative will not only benefit us environmentally but will build lifelong relationships that profit us all. | Kate Ratledge, Togather Restaurant Consulting
This guest blog was submitted by Togather Restaurant Consulting. For more information on guest blog opportunities, contact Marla McColly, Business Development Director, Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.