Monday, January 11, 2021

Oregon Less than Full Time Leisure and Hospitality Workers Can Benefit From Unemployment Insurance Even If Hours are Reduced.

Oregon has a "working while claiming" unemployment insurance program that allows workers to still receive partial unemployment insurance benefits if their work hours are reduced. OED's related guidance is HERE

This is different that the Workshare program that has its own set of rules and benefit calculations. 

Workers in the leisure and hospitality industry have been disproportionally impacted by COVID related closures and partial re-openings. Attracting employees back with reduced hours may also be a challenge for employers especially for leisure and hospitality workers who may have already have had less than 40 hour weeks before the pandemic.  

I thought it might be useful to see how Oregon's "working while claiming" unemployment program could benefit these kind of workers. I used an average wage of $25,000 because that was close to the industry average wage in 2019; the base weekly UI benefit amount I calculated was based on 32 hours of work a week for 12 months. 

I looked at impacts with and without the current 11 week $300 a week UI bonus. 

WITH $300 UI Bonus:  

When coupled with the temporary 11 week $300 unemployment bonus leisure and hospitality workers with an annual wage of $25,000 whose hours are reduced from an average of 32 hours a week to 20 hours or week or FEWER can replace MORE than 100% of their full 32 hour wages ($481).  

The graph below shows the total income for these workers including part time income, regular unemployment insurance, and the $300 supplement. 

In ALL scenarios shown total income is more than 32 hour a week income. Total income with a reduction of 12 hours, to 20 hours produces the highest income at $913; full unemployment (no hours) produces the lowest total income of $600 [still more than 32 hour wage income].

As the chart shows workers with reduced hours that are MORE than 20 do NOT qualify for unemployment insurance and therefore their income will be LESS than their 32 hour wage.



Without $300 UI Bonus. 

WITHOUT the temporary 11 week $300 unemployment bonus SOME leisure and hospitality workers with an annual wage of $25,000 whose hours are reduced from an average of 32 hours a week to 12-20 hours or week can still replace MORE than 100% of their full 32 hour wages ($481). 

The graph below shows the total income for these workers including part time income, regular unemployment insurance, and NO $300 supplement. In THREE scenarios shown total income is more than 32 hour a week income; 20 hours, 16 hours, and 12 hours. Total income with a reduction of 12 hours-to 20 hours-produces the highest income at $613; full unemployment (no hours) produces the lowest total income of $300 which would now be below the 32 hour a week wage of $481.

As the graph shows workers with reduced hours that are MORE than 20 do NOT qualify for unemployment insurance and therefore their income will be LESS than their 32 hour wage. 


Conclusion

I don't know how many leisure and hospitality workers are working reduced hours, but with these assumptions the working while claiming program clearly could help those whose hours have been cut back, and especially so for the period that the $300 supplement remains.

NOTES: 

Because of the Oregon working while claiming restriction that prevents part time wages from equaling or exceeding the weekly benefit amount, as incomes climb "working while claiming" may provide lesser benefits to higher wage workers.   

There may be legislative opportunities to make reforms that would allow greater income disregards or adjust formulas to allow higher partial UI payments with smaller reductions in hours than existing formulas permit.. For example, Idaho allows workers to still qualify for partial unemployment benefits if their earnings are less than 150% of their unemployment weekly benefit vs the 100% maximum allowed in Oregon. A change like this would require careful analysis to evaluate the impact that it might have on the solvency of the unemployment insurance trust fund and the tax rate paid by employers. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Apartment List: City of Portland Only Oregon City (Among 10 With Data) That Saw Median Rents DECREASE [by 5.2%] from Dec 2017 to Dec 2020.

According to Apartment List data the median City of Portland rent has decreased by 5.2% from December 2017 to 2020.Of the six Oregon cities where data is available, Portland is the only city where a decrease has occurred.

In the Portland metro area Lake Oswego had the highest increase of 15.8% and all of the other 5 cities in the Portland metro had December 2020 median rents higher than the City of Portland.

The table pasted below shows the data, sorted from the highest to lowest increase in median rents
.



Their methodology is HERE. Their rent estimates can be found HERE.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog.

Monday, December 28, 2020

WITH $300 Supplemental Unemployment Insurance Payment, Oregon $30K Worker "Claiming While Working" With Reduced Hours Could Receive Up to 169% of Full Time Wages for 11 Weeks.

Oregon's "Claiming While Working" program allows for partial unemployment insurance for workers whose hours have been cut back but ONLY if their reduced wages are no MORE than their weekly unemployment benefit amount. If reduced wages are above their weekly benefit amount workers do not qualify for ANY amount of unemployment insurance benefits. 

Workers who DO qualify are then allowed to keep up to $300 in weekly wage income without any reduction in their unemployment insurance benefit, and a dollar for dollar reduction of their unemployment insurance benefit  in the amount that exceeds $300. 

IF workers with reduced hours DO qualify they would also be eligible for the FULL amount of the $300 U I supplement in the recently passed federal legislation, which the President finally signed on Sunday evening. 

The table and graph I created HERE and embedded below shows 6 examples of how this would play out for a worker with full time annual wage income of $30,000, $577 a week, $14.42 per hour.

  1. A completely laid off worker at $30,000 annually would receive a weekly unemployment insurance benefit of $375. Adding the recently approved $300 UI supplement raises weekly income to $675, and $98 MORE than the full time weekly wage of $577. That's 117% of the full time weekly wage. 
  2. IF  the worker had their hours reduced by 20% or 30% the worker would NOT qualify for any unemployment insurance because the amount of reduced wages is higher than the amount of their unemployment insurance benefit.  These workers would only have their reduced wages as their sources of income.
  3. The worker with a 40% reduction in hours would have total income of $975. That's 169% of the weekly full time wage and $398 more than the full time wage. [This 40% reduction of hours yields the highest total income of the examples I have used].  NoteIn this scenario reduced wages of $346 are $46 above the $300 maximum so the amount of unemployment insurance was reduced by $46, from $375 to $329.
  4. The worker with a 50% reduction in hours would have total income of $963. That's 167% of the weekly full time wage and $387 more than the full time wage.
  5. Finally, the worker with a 75% reduction in hours would have total income of $819. That's 142% of the weekly full time wage and $242 more than the full time wage. 

After 11 weeks the $300 supplement is scheduled to end.  In all but two examples, the combined income of laid off workers or workers with reduced hours would be less than full time wage. The two exceptions: 

  1. The worker with a 40% reduction would have combined income of $675, $98 more than the full time wage. That's 117% of the full time wage.
  2. The worker with a 50% reduction in hours would have a combined income $663, $86 more than the full time wage. That's 115% of the full time wage.

Affordable Monthly Rents Increase by as Much as $518 a Month (For less than 3 Months).

At the bottom of the table I show the MONTHLY rents that are affordable with the $300 unemployment insurance supplement compared to the monthly rent affordable at the full time wage. 

As previously noted a reduction in hours by 20% or 30% results in NO unemployment insurance benefits, so monthly affordable rent at reduced incomes are $150 to $225 below affordable monthly rent at the full time wage. 

Reduction in hours of 40% or more results in payment of the $300 weekly bonus and that boosts monthly affordable rents between $128 and $518 MORE than affordable rent at the full time wage. 

Instead of an affordable rent of $750 at the full time wage the addition of the $300 UI Supplement boosts affordable rents to $878 to $1,268. This increased affordability however ends in less than 3 months.

The Oregon Employment Department "Working While Claiming" website HERE has more information about filing a claim for part time work. 

Note: "Working While Claiming" is NOT the same as Work Sharing, which has it's own set of rules and calculations. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

Monday, December 21, 2020

Stimulus Bill: 11 Week Extension of 100% Federal Financing of Workshare and $300 Bonus Means Worker Below $72,700 Income w 40% Reduction in Hours Gets 100% Income Replacement.

Buried in the proposed stimulus bill extension (Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Sub Chapter 1, Section 207) is a provision that extends 100% federal funding of Workshare programs for 11 weeks, through March 14, 2021. 

Although there has been a drop off in Oregon participation following the loss of the $600 UI supplement last summer, the addition of the $300 UI supplement could rev up Workshare participation again, especially for public agencies who have used Workshare as a budget savings tool. 

For public agencies, this May 2020 posting by the Portland School District may be instructive. Simply substitute $300 for the $600 in the eight examples shown; in ALL of the eight examples employees would still retain 100% or MORE of the regular salary. (And not incidentally employers could cut their salary expenses by 20% to 40% for those 11 weeks)

For 11 Weeks Workshare Workers with Annual Wages of Less than $72,700 and [max] 40% Reduction in Hours Would Replace 100% or More of their Wages.

The table pasted below show that a worker with annual earnings of $72,700 could replace 100% of their $1,398 in weekly wages over an 11 week period through a combination of regular unemployment insurance, the $300 bonus UI supplement, and a 40% reduction of their hours/ wages. 

If this sample worker's hours were reduced less than 40% (but not less than 20% according to Workshare rules) that same worker would receive MORE than 100% in income replacement. 

If their wage income was higher than $72,700 and they had a reduction in hours/wages of 40% they would receive LESS than 100% income replacement. 

After 11 weeks/March 14 the share of income replaced for Workshare participants would drop because of the loss of the $300 UI supplement. 

NOTE: $300 UI bonus [for all programs] is NOT retroactive. Bonus only applies to 11 weeks following effective date in the legislation. 

Existing  Oregon Workshare Claimants Could Get $19.2 Million In Additional UI Benefits

The most recent weekly report shows that 5,845 Oregon workshare continuing claims had been filed. After the effective date of the legislation those with continuing claims should begin to receive the $300 weekly supplement as soon as the Employment Department can tweak their administrative systems to authorize and make those payments. 

If all workshare claimants got additional $300 in benefits for the full 11 week period that is an additional $19.2 million for those claimants, over and above their reduced salaries and regular reduced unemployment insurance benefits.

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog

 


Saturday, December 19, 2020

1st Searchable PDF of Oregon Senate 2020 Statements of Economic Interest; Turns Out That 30% of Senators Have Rental Properties.

I have previously posted HERE about the shortcomings of  retrieving grouped data from the electronic filing system used to post statements of economic interest for the more than 5,000 Oregon public officials required to provide those annual statements. 

In time for the short legislative session on Monday, I managed this weekend to bulldog my way though the on line 2020 SEI's filed for Oregon's 30 Senators and convert them into a single PDF file that now: 

  1. Is searchable by keyword.
  2. Includes bookmarks to ALL pages where "Rental" appears. [These bookmarks appear at the top of the bookmark panel to the left of the document]. You may need to download the file to be able to view the bookmark panel in the left side of the document that has direct links to SEI's with "rental" keyword. 

The PDF file is HERE  and opens to SEI's for individual Senators, starting with Baertschiger. 

As a result of this search I identified and bookmarked links to the rental properties listed for 9 Senators-30% of all Senators: 

  1. BURDICK
  2. GESLER
  3. GIROD
  4. GOLDEN
  5. HAAS
  6. MONNES ANDERSON
  7. JOHNSON
  8. THATCHER
  9. WAGNER

There may be other Senate members who own residential property other than their personal residence and that do not show up under the "rental" keyword search. 

While I am pleased I was able to create this 1st of its kind searchable PDF file it is not a reasonably replicable process for other groups of office holders. 

I hope the Ethics Commission will be receptive to simpler group data downloads that can  help increase the transparency of this important information; SEI postings for 2021 are scheduled by April 15th. 

Originally created and posted on the Oregon Housing Blog