Wage and Hour Laws in Oregon | Current Oregon Labor Laws


Minimum Wage

Oregon’s current minimum wage depends on where you work in the state. For more information on Oregon’s minimum wage laws, visit our Oregon Minimum Wage Laws page, which includes topics such as minimum wage, tip minimum wage, tip sharing and pooling, and subminimum wages.


Overtime

Oregon labor laws require an employer to pay overtime, unless otherwise exempt, at the rate of one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. OR Bureau of Labor FAQs: Overtime. See FLSA: Overtime for more information.


Prevailing Wages

Under certain circumstances, you may be required to pay Oregon residents wage rates established by the federal or state prevailing wage rates and rules. The prevailing wage rates may be different from the state’s standard minimum wage rates.

Employees may be eligible for prevailing wages if they work on federal or state government or government-funded construction projects or perform certain federal or state government services. See the Oregon Prevailing Wages, Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA), and Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) for more information about prevailing wages.


Meals and Breaks

Meal periods

Oregon labor laws require employers to provide workers with at least one 30-minute unpaid and uninterrupted meal period when the work period is six (6) hours or greater. If they require the employee to work at any time during meal periods, they must pay the employees for the entire 30-minute period. Employers must provide meal periods to employees based on the number of hours they work as follows:

  • 0 to 6 hours – 0 meal periods
  • 6 to 14 hours – 1 meal period
  • 14 to 22 hours – 2 meal periods
  • 22 to 24 hours – 3 meal periods

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(2)(a), OR Admin. Rules 839-021-0072(1)

Employers must allow employees to take their meal periods according to the following time requirements:

  • If they work seven (7) hours or less, the meal period must begin no earlier than the conclusion of the second hour worked and end no later than the commencement of the fifth hour of work
  • If they work more than seven (7) hours, the first meal period must begin no earlier than the conclusion of the third hour worked and end no later than the commencement of the sixth hour of work

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(d)

Except for those who are under the age of 18, employers may require employees to work through their meal periods if they show that to do so would impose an undue hardship on the employers’ operations and they comply with the requirements listed below.

  • The employers provide adequate paid periods in which to rest, consume a meal, and use the restroom;
  • The employers first have each employee sign a notice and waiver issued by the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries regarding rest and meal periods; and
  • The employers retain and keep available to the commissioner a copy of the notice for the duration of the employee’s employment and for no less than six months after the termination date of the employee.

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(3), (5)

For the purpose of determining whether providing a meal period requires undue hardship, the following factors may be considered:

  • The employer’s cost of complying with the meal period requirements.
  • The employer’s overall financial resources.
  • The number of individuals employed at a particular worksite and their qualifications and ability to relieve other employees who are taking meal breaks.
  • The total number of persons employed by the employer.
  • The number, type, and geographic separateness of the employer’s worksites.
  • The effect of providing the meal period on worksite operations involving: the startup or shutdown of machinery in continuous-operation industrial processes; intermittent and unpredictable workflow not in the control of the employer or employee; the perishable nature of materials used on the job; and the safety and health of other employees, patients, clients or the public.

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(4)

Employers may also require employees, except those under the age of 18, to work through their meal periods or provide shorter meal periods if they show:

  • There is an industry practice or custom where employers provide paid meal periods that last less than 30 minutes (but no less than 20 minutes) during which the employees are relieved of all duty; or
  • They failed to provide meal periods because there were unforeseeable equipment failures, acts of nature, or other exceptional and unanticipated circumstances that only rarely and temporarily preclude them from allowing their workers to take meal periods. In these situations, employers must pay employees for the entire 30-minute meal period even if they were able to take a portion of it.

Oregon labor laws allow employees to waive their right to take a meal period if the following requirements are met:

  • The employees are employed to serve food or beverages, receives tips, and reports the tips to their employers;
  • The employees are at least 18 years of age;
  • The employees voluntarily request to waive their meal periods after having worked for the employers no less than seven (7) calendar days;
  • The employees request to waive their meal periods using waiver request forms issued by the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries that are signed and dated by both the employees and employers;
  • The employers retain and keep available for inspection copies of the employees’ requests to waive their meal periods for as long as the employees work for the employers plus at least an additional six (6) months after the separation from employment;
  • The employers provide the employees with reasonable opportunities to consume food during any work period of six (6) hours or more while continuing to work;
  • The employers pay the employees for any and all meal periods during which the employees are not completely relieved of all duties;
  • The employers do not require the employees to work longer than eight hours without receiving a 30-minute meal period during which the employees are relieved of all duties;
  • The employers make and keep available for inspection accurate records of hours worked by each employee that clearly indicate whether or not the employee has received meal periods;
  • The employers post notices provided by the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries regarding rest and meal periods in a conspicuous and accessible place where all employees can view it; and
  • The employers do not coerce employees to waive their right to meal periods

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(8)(a), (d)

Employees who have requested to waive their meal periods may at any time request to take a meal period without revoking the agreement to waive the meal periods generally. Those who would like to take meal periods without revoking their signed waiver must request to take meal periods in writing at least 24 hours before they would like to take the meal periods. OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(8)(c)

Either the employers or employees may revoke the meal period waivers by providing at least seven (7) days written notice to the other. OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(8)(b)

Break periods

Oregon labor laws require employers to provide workers 18 years of age and over with paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest breaks for every four (4) hour segment or major portion thereof that they work in a work period. Employers must provide workers under the age of 18 with paid, uninterrupted 15-minute rest breaks for every four (4) hour segment or major portion thereof that they work in a work period. OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(6)(a)

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(6)(a)

Employees should allow employees to take their rest breaks in the middle of each four (4) hour segment, whenever possible. They must provide rest periods in addition to and taken separately from meal periods. They may not require or allow employees to add their rest periods meal periods or deduct the rest period from the beginning or end of the employees’ work periods to reduce the overall length of the work period. Oregon labor law places the burden on employers to show that they provided the required rest periods. OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(6)(a)

Employers are not required to provide rest periods to employees when all of the following conditions are met:

  • The employees are 18 years of age or older;
  • The employees work less than five hours in any period of 16 continuous hours;
  • The employees are working alone;
  • The employees are employed in a retail or service establishment, i.e., a place where goods and services are sold to the general public, not for resale; and
  • The employers allow the employees to leave their assigned stations when the employees need to use the restroom facilities.

OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(6)(b)

Work period defined

For purposes of meal and break period rules, work periods are the period between the time employees begin work and the time they end work. They include:

  • rest periods
  • any period of one (1) hour or less, other than a designated meal period, during which the employees are relieved of all duties
  • meal periods where employees are paid because the employees not relieved of all duties for the duration of the meal periods

Meal periods where employees are relieved of all duties are not included in the meaning of work period. OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050(11)

Resources: OR Statute 653.261; OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0050; OR Bureau of Labor FAQs: Meal and Rest Periods.


Nursing Mother Breaks

Oregon labor laws require employers to allow employees who are nursing mothers to take reasonable breaks to express milk for up to 18 months after the birth of the child. Employees, if feasible, shall take the nursing mother breaks to express milk at the same time as the meal or rest periods they are otherwise provided by the employer. If not feasible, the employer must permit the employee to take unpaid nursing mother breaks each time the employee needs to express milk.

Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to provide employees who are nursing mothers with a private location within close proximity to the employee’s work area to express milk. A private location is a place, other than a public restroom or toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area for the employee to express milk concealed from view and without intrusion by other employees or the public.

The following rules and limitations also apply:

  • If an employee takes unpaid rest periods, the employer may, but is not required to, allow the employee to work before or after the employee’s normal shift to make up the amount of time used during the unpaid rest periods. If the employee does not work to make up the amount of time used during the unpaid rest periods, the employer is not required to compensate the employee for that time.A room connected to a public restroom, such as a lounge, if the room allows the employee to express milk concealed from view and without intrusion by other employees or the public.
  • An employer may not require an employee, including an employee who is FLSA exempt, to substitute paid leave time for unpaid rest periods provided in compliance with these rules.

An employer with ten (10) or fewer employees is not required to provide nursing mother breaks if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

When possible, an employee who intends to express milk during work hours must give the employer reasonable oral or written notice of the employee’s intention to allow the employer time to make the preparations necessary for compliance with OR Statute 653.077 and these rules. Failure to give notice is not grounds for discipline.

An employer must notify all employees, through its policies or other means, of the person or entity to whom an employee should give notice of intent to express milk. If the employer does not provide such notification, the employee’s oral or written notice to a supervisor, manager, or human resource or personnel department or their staff will be presumed sufficient.

Nursing mothers are responsible for storing their expressed milk. The employer must allow the employee to bring a cooler or another insulated food container to work for storing the expressed milk and ensure there is adequate space in the workplace to accommodate the employee’s cooler or insulated food container. If the employer allows employees access to refrigeration for personal use, the employer may allow, but cannot require, an employee who expresses milk during work hours to use the available refrigeration to store the expressed milk.

OR Statute 653.077; OR Admin. Rules 839-020-0051


Vacation Leave

There is no law stating that employers must offer their employers vacation days in Oregon. However, if an employer does provide vacation days as a part of the employment contract, the final paycheck has to include payment for all unused vacation days that an employee was entitled to receive under the contract.

However, there is also a use-it or lose-it policy in place. If expressly stated, employees have to use vacation days by a specific date, or they will be lost.

Information about Oregon vacation leave laws may now be found on our Oregon Leave Laws page.


Sick Leave

Employees in Oregon are entitled to receive paid sick time if the employer has 10 employees or more. In Portland, Oregon, employers must provide paid sick leave to employees if they have six or more employees.

If the company has fewer than 10 employees in Oregon, or fewer than six employees in Portland, employers must provide unpaid sick time to employees. Regardless of company size, employers must provide up to one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. 

Employers must keep employees updated regarding the sick time they have earned. Employees can start taking sick time once they have worked for their employers for 90 days.

Information about Oregon sick leave laws may now be found on our Oregon Leave Laws page.


Holiday Leave

In Oregon, a private employer may dictate employee work holidays, but there is no law stating that employers must provide employees with off time for any holidays. Moreover, private employers are not required to provide premium pay to employees for working during holidays.

For state employees, various state and federal holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and others, may qualify for holiday leave.

Information about Oregon holiday leave laws may now be found on our Oregon Leave Laws page.


Jury Duty Leave

Employees working in Oregon must attend jury duty if they are summoned. It is unlawful for an employer to discharge you for jury duty. If an employer attempts to coerce an employee to avoid jury duty in favor of work, the employee may take legal action against the employer.

However, no statutory law requires employers to pay any wages or salary during an employee’s jury duty. An employer may also not use your annual leave, sick leave, or vacation time for jury duty.

Information about Oregon jury duty leave laws may now be found on our Oregon Leave Laws page.


Voting Leave

No law in Oregon states that employers must grant their employees leave, unpaid or paid, to vote. However, if an employer enforces this, employees must vote on their own time.

Information about Oregon voting leave laws may now be found on our Oregon Leave Laws page.


Severance Pay

Oregon labor laws do not require employers to provide employees with severance benefits. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract.

In Oregon, employers are not required to offer severance pay to employees they terminate. However, if the company has established severance pay policies in the employment contract, the company is obligated to adhere to that contract. However, whether or not there is a severance pay package for employees depends solely on the company.


Unemployment

Under certain circumstances, Oregon residents may be eligible for unemployment benefits while they search for another job. You are required to certify that you are unemployed on a weekly basis to receive these benefits.

Oregon provides unemployment insurance as long as they meet various requirements. To qualify for unemployment insurance, a person must be unemployed and not currently working. In addition, they must have worked in Oregon during the past 12 to 18 months. 

The person must have also worked a minimum number of hours or earned minimum wages during that time as determined by the state. In addition, people seeking unemployment insurance must be able to work, available for work, and actively seek employment each week that benefits are being collected. 

They must have earned at least $1,000 in wages during the base period or have worked at least 500 hours during the base period. In addition, to qualify for unemployment insurance, a person must also be out of work due to no fault of their own and are not eligible for quitting the job of their own volition.

See Oregon State Unemployment Benefits.


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