It’s important to stay up to date on all of the employment laws in your state so that you can maintain compliance in your business. We did some of the hard work for you and put some of the most important Oregon statutes in one place so you can either learn them for the first time or give yourself a refresher. 

However, remember that our summary is not qualified legal advice, laws are always subject to change, and they can vary from municipality to municipality. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re compliant with all laws and statutes in your area. Consult with a qualified lawyer and/or your local government agencies if you have questions or concerns. 

Here are a few Oregon labor laws every small business owner should know.


First, here are a few helpful links and resources for you to bookmark and refer back to:


  • Sick Days: Employers with at least 10 employees (at least 6 in Portland) must provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave, and employers with less than 10 employees (less than 6 in Portland) must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid sick leave. 
  • Medical Leave: Employers with at least 25 employees must provide up to 12 weeks of leave in any one-year period to eligible employees for the following reasons:
    • The birth or adoption of a child, or placement of a foster child
    • To care for a seriously ill family member
    • To deal with the death of a family member
    • For the employee’s own serious health condition 
    • For prenatal care of pregnancy disability
    • To treat a sick child that requires at-home care 
  • Vacation Leave: Employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid vacation leave but must comply with their own established policies if they choose to implement one.
    • Employers can establish a policy denying a pay out of any accrued vacation time upon separation from employment. 
    • Employers can cap the amount of vacation time that may be accrued, and can also implement a “use-it-or-lose-it” policy that requires employees to use their leave by a set date. 
  • Jury Duty: Employers do not have to provide paid time off for jury duty, but cannot penalize employees in any way for responding to a jury summons. 
  • Holiday Leave: Private employers are not required to provide paid or unpaid time off for holidays. 
  • Voting Leave: No statute 
  • Bereavement Leave: Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

Final Paycheck

  • Employees who are terminated or laid off must be paid all final wages no later than the end of the first business day after the separation. 
  • Employees who quit and give at least 48 hours notice of their intention (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) must be paid all final wages no later than the end of the first business day after the date of the separation. 
  • If an employee quits but does not give notice, employers have to pay all final wages within 5 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, or by the next regularly scheduled payday, whichever is first. 
  • Employees who separate from employment due to a labor dispute must be paid all final wages by the next regular payday after the strike begins, or within 30 days, whichever comes first.  

Minimum Wage

  • The current minimum wage for employers located in urban growth boundaries of certain metropolitan service districts is $12.50 and will increase over the next few years as follows:
    • July 1, 2020– $13.25
    • July 1, 2021 – $14.00
    • July 1, 2022 – $14.75
  • The current minimum wage for employers located in certain nonurban counties is $11.00 and will increase over the next few years as follows:
    • July 1, 2020 – $11.50
    • July 1, 2021 – $12.00
    • July 1, 2022 – $12.50
  • The minimum wage will begin increasing consistent with an increase in the U.S. City Average Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in 2023. 

Tipped Wages

Employers are required to pay tipped employees the full minimum wage regardless of how much they receive in tips. 

Child Labor

  • Minors 14 and 15 years of age are subject to the following time restrictions:
    • When school is in session:
      • A maximum of 3 hours per day on school days
      • A maximum of 8 hours per day on non-school days 
      • A maximum of 18 hours per week
      • Only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and no working during school hours 
    • When school is not in session:
      • A maximum of 8 hours per day 
      • Only between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day 
  • Minors 16 and 17 years of age are allowed to work any hours, but can only work a maximum of 44 hours a week. 
  • Meal periods of at least 30 minutes must be provided to minor employees who work 6 or more consecutive hours. 
  • A break of at least 15 minutes must be provided for every 4 hours (or major portion) or work time. 

Meal and Rest Breaks, Overtime

  • Employers are required to pay non-exempt employees an overtime rate of 1 ½  their regular rate for all hours worked in a workweek in excess of 40. 
  • Meal periods of at least 30 minutes must be provided to employees based on the number of hours they work:
    • 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
  • Employers are also required to provide paid, 10-minute rest breaks for employees 18 years of age and older, and 15-minute breaks to minor employees.
    • The breaks must be provided as follows:
      • 0 to 2 hours – 0 rest periods
      • 2 to 6 hours – 1 rest period
      • 6 to 10 hours – 2 rest periods
      • 10 to 14 hours – 3 rest periods
      • 14 to 18 hours – 4 rest periods
      • 18 to 22 hours – 5 rest periods
      • 22 hours to 24 hours – 6 rest periods

Employment Discrimination

  • Oregon law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (includes gender, pregnancy and sexual harassment), religion, age (18 or older), marital status, physical/mental disability, injury, family relationship, and retaliation on the basis of having opposed an unlawful employment practice. The Oregon law also makes genetic discrimination illegal, preventing an employer from requiring or considering the results of genetic screening or brain wave tests.
  • Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.       


Oregon is an employment-at-will state, which means that without a written employee contract, employees can be terminated for any reason at any time, provided that the reason is not discriminatory and that the employer is not retaliating against the employee for a rightful action. 

Shift Scheduling

  • The Fair Scheduling Law requires businesses that have 500 or more employees worldwide and are in the retail, hospitality, and food service industries to provide employees with a written, good faith estimate of their work schedule at the time of hire. 
    • The estimate must include the median number of hours the employee can expect to work in an average month, explain the voluntary standby list, and indicate whether an employee can expect to be placed on-call. 
    • Employers must also give employees a written advance notice of their schedule 7 days before the first day of the schedule. 
    • Employers may keep a standby list of employees who want to work extra hours in the instance of unexpected absences or unanticipated customer needs. Employees may only be on the list if they agree in writing. 
    • Employees may refuse to work any additional hours added to their established schedule if there is no advanced notice, and if they agree to work them (or any other changed shifts, such as if the hours are changed or lengthened), they are entitled to one hour of extra pay. 
    • Employers are not allowed to schedule an employee to work for a period of 10 hours after the end of the employee’s previous shift unless the employee requests or consents. 
      • If an employer requires an employee to work in that time period, they must be paid 1 ½ times their regular rate.

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