Wage and hour laws are the regulations that set forth how much employees must be paid and how many hours they are allowed to work. The laws often cover minimum pay amounts, what is considered overtime and how many breaks an employee is entitled to. Since each state’s wage and hour laws are different, it is important for employers to understand how they are affected by them so they do not commit any violations.
Minimum Wage in Oregon
The minimum wage in Oregon is $9.25 per hour. This differs from the federal minimum hourly wage of $7.25. When federal and state employment laws conflict, Oregon employers must apply whichever standard is most beneficial to employees. Therefore, the higher state minimum wage applies to all Oregon workers.
Minimum Wage of Tipped Workers: Oregon state law requires that all employers must pay employees the full amount of minimum wage without a tip credit. The employee retains all tips except in the event of a valid tip pooling arrangement.
Does Minimum Wage Apply to Me: Minimum wage and hour laws apply to most employers in Oregon. For an employee to be considered exempt from minimum wage and overtime, the employer must establish that the employee qualifies for exempt status. The three categories of employees who may be exempt are executives, administrative managers and professional employees. Both Oregon and federal law require employees to satisfy all duty tests and be paid a genuine salary in order to be considered exempt. Employers can contact the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries for more information on exemptions.
When are Raises Required: There are no regulations concerning raises in Oregon. Generally, raises are merit-based and handed out by employers based on an employee’s job performance.
Work Hours in Oregon
Under Oregon law, there are generally no limits on the number of hours an employee may work in a day. Employers may schedule employees to work for as many hours as they like as long as all minimum wage and overtime laws are correctly applied. One exception is manufacturing employees, who are limited to 13 hours of work in any 24-hour period.
Paying Overtime: Overtime pay is required by both federal law and Oregon law. Employers must pay employees overtime at a rate of 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate for all hours over 40 in a work week. It is important to note that salaried employees are also entitled to overtime in Oregon, unless they meet the standards for exemption.
Guaranteed Breaks and Meals: Oregon law does require employers to provide meal and rest breaks to employees, unless the employees are exempt. An employee working an eight-hour shift is entitled to receive at a minimum a 30-minute unpaid meal break and two paid ten-minute rest breaks. Employers with 25 or more employees are required to allow nursing mothers a break to express milk for a child who is 18 months old or younger, unless such a break causes an undue hardship to the employer.
Paid Time-off and Sick Pay: Oregon employers are not required to provide vacation time to employees but may enter into an agreement with an employee to do so. Beginning on January 1, 2016, all Oregon employers with 10 or more employees (6 in Portland) are required to provide an employee up to 40 hours of paid sick leave annually. Employers with less than 10 employees (6 in Portland) are required to provide employees 40 hours of unpaid sick time annually.
Notice Period for Employee Termination: Oregon is an “at-will” state, meaning that the employer-employee relationship can be terminated by either party, at any time, for any reason. No notice is required by either party in order to terminate the employer-employee relationship, unless an employment contract is in place that states otherwise.
Plant Closings & Layoffs: In the event of a plant closing, an employer is required to give 60 days’ notice if the shutdown will result in unemployment for 50 or more workers in a 30-day period. For other types of mass layoffs, 60 days’ notice is required if the employment loss for a 30-day period is 500 or more employees, or 50-499 workers if they constitute at least 33% of the employer’s active workforce.
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