Oregon Labor Laws

March 19th 2024

This article covers:

What are Oregon Time Management Laws?

In the US, there are federal laws in place to manage the time spent by employees in the workplace, safeguarding their rights and guaranteeing fair pay for their efforts. These laws act as directives for employers, keeping them in check, and minimizing any forms of abuse or exploitation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which dates back to 1938, is a critical federal law for time management, setting hourly wage rates and overtime pay, and requiring employers to keep an accurate record of their employees’ working hours. Overtime is pegged at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for workers who exceed 40 hours a week. However, certain job categories, including executives, professionals, and administrative employees, are exempt from overtime pay depending on their job description and salary.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is another essential federal law that governs time management in the workplace, entitling eligible employees to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition. This act also requires employers to maintain employees’ health benefits during their leave and restore them to their previous or equivalent positions upon their return to work.

Employers who contravene federal time management laws face severe legal ramifications, including fines, back pay, and damages. If workers feel that their employer has violated federal time management laws, they can file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for investigation and legal action.

Overall, federal time management laws are instrumental in ensuring that workers are compensated fairly for their time and effort in the workplace, protecting them from abuse and exploitation by employers. The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act are vital federal laws that govern time management and worker compensation, ensuring fair labor practices across various sectors, including non-profit, public, and private organizations.

Oregon minimum wage $13.20+ ($13.20 in certain non-urban counties, standard $14.20, in Portland Metro $15.45)
Oregon Overtime Laws 1.5 times the minimum wage for any time worked over 40 hours/week
($21.30 for standard minimum wage workers, $19.80 in certain non-urban counties, and $23.18 in Portland Metro)
Oregon Break Laws Meal break — 30 min per 6+ hours
Rest break — 10 min per 4 hours
Rest break for minors — 15 min per 4 hours

What are the Hiring, Working & Termination Laws in Oregon?

Discrimination in the workplace is not just morally wrong, it’s against federal law. And while there are several federally banned grounds for discrimination, the state of Oregon has gone a step further by adding more. Thus, to avoid any legal complications, it’s important to be aware of all the prohibited bases for workplace discrimination (especially when hiring). Here’s the complete list that takes into account both federal and Oregon-specific laws:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information (including family medical history)
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Child or spousal withholding
  • Military or veteran status
  • Expunged juvenile records
  • Marital status
  • Relation to another employee
  • Filing for workers’ compensation insurance
  • Domestic violence victim status
  • Credit report or credit history
  • Access to employer-owned housing
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Lawful off-duty use of tobacco products
  • Wage garnishment for consumer debt
  • Whistleblower status
  • Refusal to attend an employer-sponsored meeting, provided the main purpose is related to the employer’s political or religious views

The state of Oregon has implemented the Equal Pay Act, which bars employers from paying different wages and benefits to employees with comparable job responsibilities. However, employers may provide wage disparities based on one or a combination of the following reasons:

  • A seniority system
  • A merit system
  • A system of measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production
  • Workplace location
  • Travel — provided it is necessary and regular for an employee
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Training

Oregon, like most US states, subscribes to the “employment-at-will” policy. This means employers can terminate employees without reason at any time, while employees are free to leave a job for any reason with no legal repercussions. However, employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employees for exercising this right and must provide a final paycheck, including all wages and benefits, to every terminated employee. According to Oregon Labor wage laws, final paychecks for laid-off or fired employees are due the next business day, while those who leave with 48-hour notice must receive their paycheck on their last day of work. If notice is less than 48 hours, the final paycheck must be given within 5 business days or on the next payday.  

What Are the Key Labor Laws in Oregon?

Now, we will discuss some key labor laws in Oregon that may not be related to the categories we have previously explored. Some of these regulations include:

  • OSHA Laws – It is the responsibility of all employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. Federal laws outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) state that employers must provide safe working conditions, regularly inspect for hazards, and strive for improvement. Additionally, employers in Oregon have additional requirements to uphold. To ensure workplace safety, employers must provide proper training and education with continuous assistance. The ultimate aim of OSHA is to reduce and eliminate workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Employers must create optimal working conditions that are free from recognized hazards that can cause harm. Regular safety and health research and demonstrations are also required. Oregon OSHA is responsible for regulating the workplace safety of all workers in the state. Compliance officers enforce regulations through scheduled and unscheduled inspections, which can be initiated by imminent danger reports, fatalities, worker complaints, or referrals. Oregon has unique safety standards categorized into General Industry, Construction, and Agriculture-related standards.
  • Whistleblower Protection Laws – “Whistleblowers” are those who possess knowledge of illegal practices or workplace hazards and should be able to report them without losing their jobs.The objective of these laws is to ensure that employees are not penalized for exercising their legal rights.
  • The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – COBRA is a federal law that ensures employees can keep their healthcare benefits after leaving their jobs. This law applies to employers with 20 or more employees, but many states have implemented their own “mini-COBRA” laws for smaller businesses. In Oregon, for example, businesses with fewer than 20 employees can provide extended health coverage for up to 9 months after an employee’s termination date.
  • Background Check Laws – Employers are allowed to conduct background checks, but they are not mandatory for all occupations. However, companies must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs the accuracy and dissemination of information in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In Oregon, certain jobs such as school personnel, childcare center personnel, and personnel in residential facilities require background checks. Additionally, individuals working in mortgage loan originators and personnel at bingo, lotto or raffle must also undergo background checks.
  • Credit and Investigative Check Laws – In Oregon, employers aren’t allowed to do credit and investigative checks on employees or job applicants. However, there are a few exceptions. If the employer is a federally insured bank or credit union, or if state or federal laws require them to obtain certain records, they are allowed to do so. Additionally, if the employee in question will be a police officer and the check is deemed substantially job-related, then it may be permitted. Finally, if the job requires access to financial information as an essential function, then credit and investigative checks may be performed. Employers who do perform these types of checks must comply with the guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Arrest and Conviction Check Laws – Oregon’s “Ban the Box” law prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record on initial job applications. However, employers are allowed to inquire about criminal history during the interview process. In Portland, employers may only ask about criminal history after an application has been reviewed, an interview has been conducted, and an offer of employment has been made.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws – In the state of Oregon, there is no law that specifically forbids or permits employers to test their job applicants and workers for substance abuse. This means that if an employer reasonably suspects that an individual is using drugs, they are allowed to conduct a breathalyzer test. However, if there is no reasonable suspicion, the individual can only be tested if they give their explicit permission.
  • Social Media Laws – Oregon has a law that protects employees and applicants from being asked by their employers about their personal social media accounts. Employers cannot force their employees to access their personal accounts while the employer is present, make them connect with certain business contacts, ask them to advertise the employer’s business on their personal accounts, or demand access to their login information.
  • Shift Scheduling Laws – If you work for a big employer in retail, hospitality, or food service, they have to give you a written schedule when you’re hired. This is because of the Fair Scheduling Law. The schedule has to tell you how many hours you’ll work on average each month, along with info about a “voluntary standby list” and whether you might get called in at the last minute to work. Plus, your boss can’t make you work a shift that starts less than 10 hours after your last one ends.
  • Portland Facial Recognition Laws – Starting from January 1, 2021, private organizations are prohibited from utilizing facial recognition technologies in public spaces except for the following cases: meeting federal, state, or local laws’ requirements, verifying users’ identities to access their electronic and communication devices, and conducting automatic facial recognition on social media apps.
  • Recordkeeping Laws – Oregon employers are required by law to keep records of all their employees for a period of three years. To comply with this obligation, employers need to record details such as:
    • Employee names
    • Social Security numbers
    • Occupations
    • Dates of birth
    • Addresses (including zip codes)
    • Regular hourly rates of pay
    • The basis on which wages are paid
    • Daily records of beginning and ending work (if split shifts are involved)
    • Total daily or weekly net wages and deductions
    • Total gross daily or weekly wages
    • Date of each payment
    • Also:
      • All job-related injuries and illnesses should be recorded under OSHA for a period of 5 years.
      • Summary descriptions and annual reports of benefit plans should be kept for 6 years.
      • Specifically dangerous incidents (such as exposure to toxic substances) should be recorded for a period of 30 years under OSHA.
      • Other record-keeping laws may apply in specific situations.

Oregon Payment Laws

To start off, let’s take a look at the laws that govern how much employees must be paid. We’ll delve into the details of minimum wage standards, including any exceptions that may apply.

What is the Minimum Payment in Oregon?

Minimum wage is the lowest hourly rate an employee can be paid. Although federal law regulates wages, each state has the right to set their own minimum wage, which can be higher than the federal rate of $7.25. In Oregon, the standard minimum wage is currently $14.20, with exceptions for certain non-urban counties and the Portland Metro area. The state adjusts the minimum wage following inflation rates based on the US City average Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. Tipped employees in Oregon receive the same minimum wage as non-tipped employees, and employers can require tip pooling. Tip credits are illegal in Oregon.

What are the Exceptions for Minimum Payment in Oregon?

In Oregon, there are some employment and personal statuses that are not subject to the minimum wage law. There are other cases where minimum wage requirements don’t apply, so we’re here to let you know about those exemptions:

  • White-collar employees
  • Outside salespeople (paid on commission, by piecework or flat rate schedules)
  • Some agricultural workers
  • Workers involved in range production of livestock
  • Casual domestic workers in family homes
  • Students employed by the same primary or secondary education institution they are enrolled in
  • Taxicab operators
  • Workers living on-site and available for emergency duties
  • Workers paid to be available for specified hours
  • Managers, assistant managers, and maintenance workers living in multi-unit accommodations
  • Seasonal workers at educational and nonprofit camps (earning less than $500,000 per year)
  • Workers at nonprofit conference areas for educational, religious, and charitable purposes
  • Volunteer firefighters
  • Companions to elderly, disabled, or infirm people in their family homes
  • Resident managers of adult foster care homes
  • Inmate labor workers
  • Referees of youth and adult recreational soccer matches
  • Certain ski patrollers, golf course caddies, and marshals

The subminimum wage is a term used to describe a lower hourly wage than the minimum wage that can be paid to certain types of workers in Oregon. Employers are allowed to pay these employees this lower wage, but the rates are still regulated by the law. In Oregon, only two categories of workers can be paid less than the standard minimum wage: student learners and employees with disabilities who have special certifications. Employers must pay student learners at least 75% of the standard minimum wage, which translates to different rates depending on the region.

What is the Payment Due Date in Oregon?

In Oregon, businesses are obligated by law to pay their staff a regular salary each month. This means the payroll period lasts for one month and pay periods should be no more than 35 days apart. Employers can decide payment methods which include cash, checks, direct deposit, ATMs, or payroll cards. Wages can only be deducted if legally necessary (taxes) or if the employee agrees in writing. Additionally, the deductions must be clearly stated on the paycheck.

What are Oregon Overtime Laws?

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets rules for how a workweek is defined as any seven consecutive days of working. Within this timeframe, workers are guaranteed payment for at least the minimum wage hourly rate as per the Oregon constitution if they work up to 40 hours. However, any hours worked above 40 are considered overtime and must be compensated at a higher rate, which is 1.5 times their regular wage for non-exempt workers. Let’s discuss who qualifies for overtime pay in Oregon and who does not.  

What are Overtime Exceptions and Exemptions in Oregon?

Here you can find the exceptions and exemptions for overtime in Oregon:

  • Administration, executives, professionals, and outside sales who earn at least $684/week
  • Some agricultural workers
  • Workers engaged in the range production of livestock
  • Domestic workers in family homes, employed on a casual basis
  • Students enrolled in primary and secondary education institutions employed by the same institution
  • Operators of taxicabs
  • Workers living at the place of employment who must be available for emergency duties
  • Workers paid for specified hours, to be available for duty
  • Managers, assistant managers, and maintenance workers employed and lodged in multi-unit accommodations
  • Seasonal workers at educational camps — provided they earn less than $500,000 per year
  • Seasonal workers at nonprofit camps
  • Workers employed at nonprofit conference areas for educational, religious, and charitable purposes
  • Volunteer firefighters
  • Companions to elderly, disabled, or infirm people in their family homes
  • Resident managers of adult foster care homes
  • Inmate labor workers
  • Referees of youth and adult recreational soccer matches
  • Certain ski patrollers, golf course caddies, and marshals
  • Workers of independently owned and operated local enterprises engaged in the wholesale or bulk distribution of petroleum products
  • Workers in pursuance of an agreement made as a result of collective bargaining
  • Workers residing on the premises of hospitals or other establishments primarily engaged in the care of “the sick, the aged, or the mentally ill and defective”
  • Workers of nonprofit amusement or recreational park, provided the establishment doesn’t operate more than 7 months per year
  • Workers involved in the fishing and processing of aquatic animal and vegetable life
  • Computer system analysts, programmers, software developers, and similarly skilled workers — provided their hourly rate is at least $27.63

Learn more in detail about Oregon Overtime Laws.

What are Oregon Time Off/Break Laws?

Employers in Oregon have been legally bound to provide their employees with two kinds of breaks – meal and rest breaks.  

What are Oregon Rest and Meal-Break Laws?

Working Period Meal Breaks Rest Breaks Rest Break Duration
Up to 6 hours None required None required None required
6 to 14 hours 1 meal break required 1 rest break required 10 minutes for adult employees; 15 minutes for minor employees
14 to 22 hours 2 meal breaks required 2 rest breaks required 10 minutes for adult employees; 15 minutes for minor employees
22 to 24 hours 3 meal breaks required 6 rest breaks required 10 minutes for adult employees; 15 minutes for minor employees
Note: It is up to the employer to decide whether the meal break is compensated or uncompensated.

What are Oregon Breastfeeding Laws?

If you’re a working mother in Oregon who recently gave birth and is still breastfeeding, you have the right to take a break to breastfeed your newborn. Employers must provide adequate conditions for these female workers, as mandated both at a state and federal level. This break can be either paid or unpaid, depending on the company’s policies. “Adequate conditions” means that employers need to provide a private room or location with a door that isn’t a bathroom stall. This location should ideally be as close as possible to the working area.  

What are Oregon Leave Laws?

Oregon provides two types of leaves – required and non-required leaves.  

What is Oregon Required Leave?

Employers are obligated to provide certain types of leave to their employees, but aren’t necessarily required to pay them during that time. However, some companies may offer paid leave. In Oregon, there are 9 types of leave that employers are legally required to offer:

  • Sick Leave – In Oregon, employers are required to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave. The type of sick leave (paid or unpaid) is determined based on the number of employees in the company. If the employer has 10 or more employees, then they must offer paid sick leave. However, if the employer has less than 10 employees, then they are only required to offer unpaid sick leave. The only exception to this rule is in the city of Portland, where employers with 6 or more employees must offer paid sick leave.
  • Family and Medical Leave – All employers in Oregon are required to provide their employees with a specific type of leave, which is regulated by the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA. This leave allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off for household and medical-related reasons, such as caring for a family member’s serious health condition, or their own newly-born child or medical condition. To be eligible, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least a year and 1,250 hours. The FMLA has been amended to include up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a member of the Armed Forces with a serious health condition, applicable only if the member is an employee’s spouse, parent, child, or next of kin. It’s important to note that, on a federal level, this is only applicable to employers with over 50 employees, while in Oregon, the threshold is lower and applicable to employers with at least 25 employees.
  • Jury Duty Leave If an employee in Oregon is called upon to serve jury duty, their employer is required by law to permit them to be away from work for that time. Employers are not permitted to mandate that employees use their sick leave, vacation days, or any other type of leave during this period. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from penalizing or disciplining their employees for fulfilling their civic duty, although they are not required to provide compensation for this period.
  • Witness Leave – According to the law, employers must give their employees who have been summoned to court as a witness either paid or unpaid leave.
  • Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave – Employees who have experienced domestic or sexual violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or who have a minor child or dependent in these situations, are eligible for unpaid leave. The aim of this leave is to provide legal or law enforcement aid and ensure the employee and their dependents’ safety. This type of leave can be taken for several reasons, including preparing for and participating in legal proceedings, seeking medical treatment for injuries, receiving counseling from a licensed mental health professional, obtaining services from a victim services provider, or relocating to a secure domestic environment.
  • Crime Victim Leave – If an employee or their family member becomes a victim of a crime, their employer must provide them with leave (paid or unpaid) to attend any proceedings related to the crime, or to prepare for it.
  • Military Leave – In the US, employees who serve in the US Armed Forces, National Guard, or state militia are entitled to a leave of absence under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act. When they return to work, they must receive the same benefits they would have received had they been present at work. In Oregon, employees who are members of another state militia can also take this leave if they are invited to active duty by that state’s governor. This law applies to all US employees.
  • Military Family Leave – If an employee’s partner or same-sex domestic partner is called to military service, the employee is eligible for a type of leave called family military leave. This leave is unpaid and only available to employers that have 25 or more employees. It can last for a maximum of two weeks. The only requirement is that the employee must work an average of more than 20 hours per week.
  • Holiday Leave – Employees in Oregon are entitled to holiday leave recognized on a federal level, which can be seen in the table below.

What is Oregon Non-Required Leave?

In accordance with Oregon state laws, there are four types of leave that employers are not obligated to provide to their employees. It’s worth noting that the law doesn’t forbid or limit these types of leave. However, if an employer decides to provide them, the specific details should be clearly outlined in the employment contract that they sign. These categories are:

  • Vacation Leave – In Oregon, it is not mandated for employers to provide paid or unpaid vacation time to employees. However, if they do decide to enact a vacation policy, they must follow all the rules and regulations associated with it. Employers can set up a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy and limit the amount of vacation time that can be accumulated. Additionally, they have the right to refuse payout for any accrued vacation time after an employee leaves the company.
  • Voting Leave – Oregon companies are not obligated to provide this kind of leave to their employees. However, if an employer does offer a voting leave option, the specifics of the policy must be clearly outlined in the employment agreement.
  • Bereavement Leave – In Oregon, it’s not mandatory for employers to provide this specific kind of leave to their staff. However, if a company policy includes bereavement leave, the employment contract must clearly outline the details.
  • Volunteer Firefighter Leave – Employers in Oregon are not legally mandated to grant volunteer firefighter leave, but it is within their discretion to allow it. If an employer does permit such leave, employees who take advantage of it cannot be discriminated against or fired. In addition, employers must ensure that these firefighters are reinstated in their former or a comparable position when they return to work. The employer also has the option to make this leave paid or unpaid.

The following are the official federal holidays observed in the US:

State Official Holidays Date
New Year’s Day 1 January
Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day Third Monday in January
Washington’s Birthday Third Monday in February
Memorial Day Last Monday in May
Independence Day 4 July
Labor Day First Monday in September
Columbus Day Second Monday in October
Election Day Every other year
Veterans Day 11 November
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day 25 December

What are Oregon Child Labor Laws?

The term “minors” refers to individuals under the age of 18, and both federal and Oregon child labor laws exist to prevent the exploitation of such young people. These laws aim to prioritize education for minors, with employment enhancing their academic and life experiences. Some of the most relevant limitations on youth employment include restrictions on work hours, night work, and specific occupations. Additionally, federal law prohibits minors from working in hazardous positions, regardless of age. The Oregon Child Labor Laws also outline specific rules and regulations for minors in the state.

What are the Laws on Working Hours for Minors in Oregon?

Here you can find the laws regarding the working hours for minors:

Age Group Maximum Work Time (when school is not in session) Maximum Work Time (when school is in session) Maximum Total Work Time (for ages 16 and 17) Nightwork Restrictions
Under 16 10 hours per day; 40 hours per week; no more than 6 days per week 3 hours per school day; total number of hours for school weeks must not exceed 18 N/A Prohibited between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.; exception: June 1 to Labor Day, can work until 9 p.m.
16 and 17 No specific restrictions on maximum work time No specific restrictions on maximum work time 44 hours per week No restrictions on nightwork
Note: All minors must obtain a work permit certificate to be employed.

What are the Banned Jobs for Minors in Oregon?

Certain occupations are strictly prohibited for minors due to federal restrictions. These hazardous occupations include:

  • Electrical technicians
  • Boiler or engine room operators
  • Any work with flammable, toxic, or corrosive substances
  • Elevator-related work
  • Centrifugal machine operators
  • Any work including climbing
  • Any work including power-driven machinery
  • Any work including glazing and glass cutting
  • Work in or about plants or establishments manufacturing or storing explosives and articles containing explosive components
  • Motor vehicle drivers or outside helpers who assist in the transportation of goods
  • All coal mining occupations for the purpose of extracting, grading, cleaning, or handling coal
  • Logging and sawmill operations and any related occupations
  • Any woodworking occupations involving the use or maintenance of power-driven woodworking machines
  • Any occupations involving exposure to radioactive substances
  • Any occupations involving the operation of power-driven hoisting apparatus, such as elevators, cranes, derricks, hoists, fork-lifts, etc
  • Operators and helpers on power-driven metal forming, punching, and shearing machines (excluding machine tools, which may be used by 16- and 17-year-olds)
  • Occupations in or on the surface of underground mines or quarries
  • Occupations involving slaughtering, meat processing and packing, rendering, and use and repair of the machines used for these purposes
  • Occupations related to operating, assisting to operate, repairing, or cleaning power-driven bakery machinery, such as dough and batter mixers, bread dividers and slicers, rounding and molding machines, slicing and wrapping machines, and cake cutting band saws
  • Setting up or adjusting cookie and cracker machines
  • Occupations of operating or assisting to operate paper product machines, such as cover cutters, staplers, circular and band saws, guillotine cutters, punch presses, etc.
  • Any work in or about establishments where clay construction and silica brick products are manufactured (except the office work, storages, shipping and drying departments)
  • Any occupations of operators or helpers of power saws and shears
  • Any occupations in wrecking, demolition, and shipbreaking
  • Any occupations in roofing operations, including gutter and downspout work
  • Any occupations in excavation operations
  • All delivery of messages and goods between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.