The Oregon Employment Law Guide

The state laws every business owner should know

Businesses must post all applicable state and federal labor law posters in the workplace.

Oregon labor law posters to download

Federal labor law posters to download

Wages and Breaks

Oregon Minimum wage
$11.50+

The current standard minimum wage for employers is $12. In Portland Metro, the minimum wage is $13.25, and in certain non-urban counties, the minimum wage is $11.50.

Tipped min wage
$11.50+

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

Oregon Overtime Pay
1.5X

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.

The federal overtime rule stipulates that the minimum salary requirement for administrative, professional, and executive exemptions is $684 per week, or $35,568 per year.

Domestic workers must be given eight consecutive hours of rest during every 24-hour period, as well as a location for uninterrupted sleep. If this period of rest is interrupted by a call to duty, any time worked during the rest period must be paid at one and one-half times their regular base rate regardless of the total number of hours worked in the week.

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.

Oregon Meal breaks
30 min per 6 hrs

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

Rest breaks
10 min paid per 4 hrs

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

Final Paychecks in Oregon

Employees who are terminated or laid off

They must be paid all final wages no later than the end of the first business day after the separation, according to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Employees who quit

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, according to Oregon law. 

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

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.

Oregon Child labor Laws

Minors 14 and 15 years of age

Minors 14 and 15 years of age are subject to the following time restrictions:

When school is in session, they may work 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. They may work only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and not during school hours.

When school is not in session, they may work a maximum of 8 hours per day. They may only work between the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day.

Minors 16 and 17 years of age

Minors 16 and 17 years of age are allowed to work any hours, but can only work a maximum of 44 hours a week.

Breaks

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.

Leave Requirements

Oregon Sick days

Employers with at least 10 employees (at least 6 in the city of 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.

Oregon Family and 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.

Employers must allow their employees to use their accrued paid leave to donate bone marrow. The employer may choose to limit the leave to 40 hours.

Oregon Bereavement leave

Employers are not required to provide bereavement leave.

Oregon Vacation time

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.

ORegon Holiday leave

Employers must allow their employees who are veterans to take Veterans Day off from work. To be eligible, the employee must provide at least 21 days’ notice and documentation showing their status as a veteran.

The employer may decide whether the leave is paid or unpaid and must tell the employee at least 14 calendar days before Veterans Day.

If the employee does not take Veterans Day off, they can choose to take another day off in honor of their service.

Oregon Jury Duty Leave

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.

Oregon Voting time

Oregon does not require employers to provide leave.

Oregon Witness Leave

Employers cannot take any adverse action against an employee for appearing as a witness in a court proceeding or for appearing at a delinquency proceeding with a minor who is in the employee’s physical or legal custody. Employers are not required to pay an employee for witness leave.

Oregon Crime Victim Leave

Employers with six or more employees must provide the victim of a crime (or their family member) with leave to attend a criminal proceeding and cannot take any adverse action because the employee took crime victim leave.

The employer is not required to pay for crime victim leave, but must allow the employee to use any accrued paid leave.

The employee must provide reasonable notice of the need for crime victim leave.

The employer must treat as confidential any records related to the crime-victim leave.

If the leave would cause an undue hardship, the employer can inform the prosecuting attorney.

Oregon Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault Leave

Employers that have at least six employees must provide leave to an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or who has a minor child or dependent who is a victim of these crimes.

The employee may use the leave to seek legal or law enforcement assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee, including the following: To prepare for and participate in protective order proceedings or other civil or criminal legal proceeding; To seek medical treatment for or to recover from injuries; To obtain counseling from a licensed mental health professional; To obtain services from a victim services provider; To relocate or take steps to secure an existing home to ensure the health and safety of the eligible employee; To do any of these things for the employee’s minor child or dependent.

Oregon Military leave

Employers must allow their employees who are members of the state militia to take military leave.

In addition, employees who are members of another state militia are entitled to take leave when that state’s governor orders them to active duty.

After their service, the employee is entitled to return to their job without loss of seniority, vacation, or other employment benefits.

Oregon Military family leave

Employers that have at least 25 employees must provide up to 14 days of military family leave.

The leave is available to an employee who is the spouse or same-sex domestic partner of a member of the military forces before or while they are on active duty.

In addition, the employee must have worked at least 20 hours a week on average.

Oregon Volunteer Firefighter Leave

Employers may choose whether to provide an employee who is a volunteer firefighter with leave to perform firefighting duties.

If an employer does provide such leave, they may not discharge an employee because they take the leave.

After their leave ends, the employer must return them to the same or equivalent position with the same seniority and other employment benefits that they would have earned during the leave. The employer may choose whether the leave is paid or unpaid.

Hiring, firing, and more

ORegon Discrimination Harassment Laws

Federal law makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of: Race, Color, Age, Sex, Sexual orientation, Gender, Gender identity, Religion, National origin, Pregnancy, Genetic information, including family medical history, Physical or mental disability, Child or spousal support withholding, Military or veteran status, Citizenship and/or immigration status.

Additionally, Oregon civil rights laws protect employment opportunities by making it illegal to discriminate and  based on the following: Expunged juvenile record; Genetic information, including family medical history; 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 (6+); Lawful off-duty use of tobacco products; Wage garnishment for consumer debt; Bringing of a claim for unlawful employment practices; Refusal to attend an employer-sponsored meeting with the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s political or religious views.

Oregon’s Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying wages or other compensation (including fringe benefits like vacation) to any employee at a greater rate than to employees of a protected class for work of “comparable character.” Wage discrepancies may only be based on the following bona fide reasons: A seniority system; A merit system; A system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production (including piece rate); Workplace location;  Travel (if necessary and regular for employees); Education; Training;  Experience; A combination of these factors, if they account for the entire pay discrepancy.

Click here to read our blog on what acceptable and unacceptable questions to ask during an interview.

Oregon Termination Laws

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.

Oregon Record-Keeping Laws

Regarding employment and payroll data, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and others, you must:

For at least 3 years: keep payroll records, certificates, agreements, notices, collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and sales and purchase records. Also keep completed copies of each employee’s I-9 for three years after they are hired. If the employee works longer than three years, hold on to the form for at least one year after the employee leaves. 

For at least 2 years: Keep basic employment and earning records like timecards, wage-rate tables, shipping and billing records, and records of additions to or deductions from wages. Also keep the records that show why you may pay different wages to employees of different sexes, such as wage rates, job evaluations, seniority and merit systems, and collective bargaining agreements.

For at least 1 year: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers should keep all employment records for at least one year from the employee’s date of termination. 

Other record-keeping laws that may apply to you: 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, you need to keep records of job-related injuries and illnesses for five years. But some records, like those covering toxic substance exposure, have to be kept for 30 years.

You must keep files of benefit plans and seniority and merit systems while they are in effect and for at least a year after they end. You must also retain summary descriptions and annual reports of benefits plans for six years.

If your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you must also retain relevant records of leaves, notices, policies, and more for three years.

Additional laws that may apply to you

Oregon Pay Practices

Employers must pay their employees at least every 35 days on regular paydays the employer chooses in advance. The payday must be within 35 days of the end of the pay period. New employees must receive their first paycheck within 35 days of their first day of work, regardless of the payroll period.

Each pay period, employers must provide employees with a pay statement. Employers can provide the statement electronically only if the employee expressly agrees and can print or store the statement when they receive it. The statement must include all the following information: Gross wages; Itemized deductions; Allowances, if any, claimed as part of the minimum wage; Their regular hourly rate (unless the employee is salaried and exempt); Their overtime rate (unless the employee is salaried and exempt); Their number of regular hours and pay for those hours (unless the employee is salaried and exempt); Their number of overtime hours and pay for those hours (unless the employee is salaried and exempt); Their rate of pay, whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, piece, or commission, or on a salary; If the employee is paid on a piece rate, the number of pieces completed and each piece rate and the total pay for each piece rate; Net wages; The employee’s name; The employer’s name and business registry number or business identification number; The employer’s address and phone number; The date of payment; The beginning and end dates of the pay period.

Oregon Background check Laws

Employers who run background checks should ensure they’re following the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which are available here. Employers may not include in their job announcements a statement to the effect of they will only consider people who are currently employed for the position.

Oregon requires that employers conduct background checks on the following types of employees or applicants: School personnel, including private schools, alternative education programs, and career schools; Mortgage loan originators; Personnel working for a residential facility, a long-term care facility, an adult foster home, a home health agency, or an in-home care agency; Personnel at bingo, lotto, raffle, or Monte Carlo events; Child care facility personnel, including volunteers.

Oregon Credit and Investigative Check Laws

Employers may not obtain a credit report for employment purposes, except under the following circumstances: The employer is a federally insured bank or credit union; The employer is required by state or federal law to obtain a credit report for employment purposes; The applicant or employee is or will be a police officer; The employer informs the applicant or employee in writing why they are using their credit report and the information in the report is substantially job-related because an essential function of the job requires access to financial information not customarily provided in a retail transaction that is not a loan or extension of credit or the job is one the employer is required to obtain a credit report to obtain insurance or a surety or fidelity bond.

Oregon Arrest and Conviction Check Laws

Oregon has a “Ban the Box” law. Under the law employers are prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal history on an application or at any time prior to an interview. If no interview is conducted, employers may not ask prior to a conditional offer of employment. Employers may not request arrest records unless they are less than one year old and there has been no acquittal or dismissal.

The City of Portland has a stricter Ban the Box ordinance than the state, which applies to employers with six or more employees. Covered employers are prohibited from asking about criminal histories until a conditional offer of employment is made. Inquiries cannot be made during the interview process. If employers are made aware of a criminal history after a conditional offer has been made they should assess the nature, seriousness, and recency of the crime and be prepared to support any adverse action with written documentation.

Oregon Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws

Oregon does not expressly allow or prohibit employers from testing their applicants or employees for drugs. Employers may only subject an applicant or employee to a breathalyzer test if they have reasonable suspicion that the applicant or employee is drunk, or if they consent despite a lack of reasonable suspicion.

Oregon Scheduling and overtime for Domestic Workers

Domestic workers must be given eight consecutive hours of rest during every 24-hour period, as well as a location for uninterrupted sleep. If this period of rest is interrupted by a call to duty, any time worked during the rest period must be paid at one and one-half times their regular base rate regardless of the total number of hours worked in the week.

Oregon Whistleblower Protection LAws

Employers may not discharge or discriminate against an employee for doing any of the following: Reporting crimes; Filing a civil action against the employer;  Opposing unsafe practices in the workplace; Complaining about discrimination;  Reporting in good faith what they believe to be a violation of the law.

Oregon COBRA

COBRA is a federal law that allows many employees to continue their health insurance benefits after their employment ends. Because federal COBRA only applies to employers that have 20 or more employees, many states have adopted their own versions of the law, which are known as “mini-COBRAs.” Oregon’s mini-COBRA allows employees to continue their coverage for up to nine months.

Employers must provide notice to the employee’s surviving, divorced, or separated spouse who is at least 55 years old within 14 days of receiving notice of the employee’s death, divorce, or legal separation. The notice must include the following: An election form to continue coverage; The amount of premium payments; How and where to make their premium payments; Instructions for mailing the completed election form within 60 days.

Oregon Shift Scheduling Laws

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.

Domestic workers must be provided with a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours during each work week. An employee may agree to work on day of rest only if all the following conditions are met: The employee voluntarily agrees; The agreement is written in a way that the employee can easily understand; The agreement is made prior to any services performed on the day of rest and specifies the particular day of rest on which the employee will work; The agreement is acknowledged by both the employee and the employer. All time worked on a day of rest must be paid at a rate of at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay, regardless of the total number of hours worked that particular work week.

Social Media

Employers may not: Require or request that an employee or an applicant establish or maintain a personal social media account; Require an employee or applicant to disclose or to provide access through the employee’s or applicant’s user name and password, or other means of authentication that provides access to a personal social media account; Compel an employee or applicant for employment to access a personal social media account in the presence of the employer and in a manner that enables the employer to view the contents of the personal social media account that are visible only when the personal social media account is accessed by the account holder’s user name and password, password or other means of authentication; Compel an employee or applicant for employment to add the employer or an employment agency to the employee’s or applicant’s list of contacts associated with a social media website; Require that an employee or applicant authorize the employer to advertise on a personal social media account; Take or threaten to take any adverse action against an employee for refusing to establish or maintain a personal social media account.

Compliance Calendar

Get our Compliance Calendar to stay on top of deadlines throughout the year: View it on your computer. Click + Google Calendar in the lower right to add it to your Google Calendar and subscribe to all updates. You can also download a calendar (.ics) file that you can import into iCal or Outlook, or download a PDF to your computer.  

COVID-19 Resources

View the resources available to Oregon business owners and workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in our state-by-state COVID-19 Resource Center.

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 Remember

This 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. If you need more compliance help, we recommend consulting with a qualified lawyer, checking with your local government agencies, or signing up for Homebase to get help from our certified HR Pros. 

Additional Resources

Affected by coronavirus? We’ve got real-time data and resources in our back-to-business toolkit.

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