May 12, 2017

Oregon's Minimum Wage Rules: 5 Things to Know

contributed by Danny Thiemann
* This post does not serve as legal advice. This is simply an educational article to help you better understand minimum wage in Oregon. The authors and publishers of this article, and of the App Paystumped, assume no responsibility or liability for use of this article and you should seek the counsel of an attorney if you have questions about how the minimum wage applies to your situation in particular.

Starting July 1, 2017 Oregon will have three different minimum wage rates depending on where work is performed. Here are 5 basic things to know about the minimum wage law. If you have more questions, please contact the Bureau of Labor and Industries or consult with an attorney.

1. The three different minimum wage rates are: $10.00/hour, $10.25/hour; and $11.25/hour.

The wage rate depends on many things, including: (a) where the employer is located; (b) where the work is performed; (c) whether the employer is keeping track of how much time the employee is working in each wage region.

What’s minimum wage? The minimum wage is the lowest amount of money an employer can pay an employee for working. Unless an exemption applies, an employer must pay a worker at least the Oregon minimum wage for work performed in Oregon.

The $10.00 rate applies to non-urban counties, including: Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler.

The $10.25 rate applies to "standard" counties, including Clatsop, Columbia, Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Lane, Deschutes, Wasco, Hood River.

Lastly, the $11.25 rate applies inside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB). The UGB is an imaginary line drawn around the most 'urban' parts of Portland, Hillsboro, and Oregon City areas.

You can see the schedule of future rate increases here

2. The minimum wage has a big impact in Oregon.

More than 1-in-4 workers in Oregon earn between the minimum wage and $13.49/hour. And almost two-thirds of minimum wage earners in Oregon are women.To see how much of an impact the minimum wage increase has on people, imagine the following scenario:

If you work in Portland inside the Urban Growth Boundary, your annual income difference could look like this:

Before July 1 2017: 2080 * 9.75 = $20,280
After July 1 2017: 2080 * 11.25 = $23,400

3. Workers without legal permission to work in the United States have the right to the minimum wage.

All employees regardless of documented status are entitled to at least the minimum wage. Employers cannot legally pay undocumented employees less than the minimum wage – by doing so, they are breaking the law.Some immigrant workers on H-2 visas, for example, are entitled to a higher wage rate that is stated in their contract or that is the prevailing wage for their type of work in the area as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

4. Money you pay or money that is deducted from your wages for tools, uniforms, or other job-related items usually cannot bring your wage rate below the minimum wage rate.

Sometimes, employers require that employees purchase scissors, uniforms, or other tools or equipment to perform the job. Money spent for these purposes cannot bring the hourly wage rate below the minimum wage rate in your location.

5. The Paystumped App can help you learn more about the minimum wage

Paystumped can help you learn about the minimum wage rules. Find the free app here. Paystumped can find your location and tell you the applicable minimum wage rate, provide multi-lingual information, an interactive ‘wage map’, and help you calculate differences in wages.