"A fair day's wage for a fair day's work: it is as just a demand as governed men ever made of governing. It is the everlasting right of man." Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Author and Philosopher

"If a man or a woman puts in an honest day's work, they should be able to earn a living wage." Richard J. Codey, Politician

"It is but equity...that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

"Wages are determined by the bitter struggle between capitalist and worker." Karl Marx, German political and economic philosopher

Oregon Wage Laws

“Honest Wages for an Honest Day’s Work!”


The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA” or Act) requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage (i.e., $7.25/hour) for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, except for those employer’s employees exempted under the Act.

Additionally, most states have their own minimum wage laws and rates. A few states in the southern part of the United States have no minimum wage rate. In either case, non-exempted employees are entitled to receive the greater of the federal or state minimum wage rate. Thus, in those states with no minimum wage requirement, covered employees are entitled to receive the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25/hour.

I. State Minimum Wage: $8.50/Hour

Generally, an employer must pay its employ­ees no less than the state’s minimum wage rate of $8.50 for each hour worked. The state minimum wage is adjusted annually for inflation effective Jan. 1 of each year. Employers who employ agricultural workers under age 18 and who pay those workers “by the amount of work produced or services rendered” must pay those workers at the same rate that is paid to workers age 18 and older.

Coverage: The state minimum wage provision applies to the state and its political subdivisions. The provision does not apply to certain voluntary services performed for no pay, or without expectation of pay, for certain public employers or nonprofit organizations, or certain services performed as part of work training programs administered under state or federal law; these services are excluded from the definition of “employ”.

The state minimum wage provision also does not apply to the following employees:

  • certain agricultural workers;
  • domestic service workers employed on a casual basis in or about a family home;
  • executive, administrative and professional employees;
  • federal employees;
  • students working for certain schools in which they are enrolled;
  • outside salespeople and taxicab operators;
  • certain workers domiciled al their place of employment in readiness to perform emergency or occasional duties, during the time they are not performing those duties;
  • workers paid for specified hours for the sole purpose of being ready for a recall to duty;
  • certain management or maintenance workers domiciled on site at multi-unit dwelling places;
  • seasonal workers at certain organized camps;
  • workers al nonprofit conference grounds or centers with educational, charitable or religious purposes;
  • volunteer firefighters as defined under state law;
  • certain child care service providers working in their own home or the home of the child;
  • certain providers of domestic companionship services;
  • golf caddies participating in certain training and supervision programs;
  • certain resident managers of licensed adult foster homes;
  • certain resident management or maintenance workers al mobile home parks or similar loca­tions;
  • certain resident volunteer campground hosts at campgrounds owned by public agencies; and
  • certain nonprofessional ski patrollers and related workers

Subminimum wages: Employers may file applications seeking authorization to pay wages lower than the state minimums for certain disabled workers and student learners.

Tipped employees: Employers, including those regu­lated by the federal FLSA, are not permitted to claim any tip credit when determining an employee’s wages.

Board and lodging: Employers may deduct from the applicable minimum wage the fair market value of meals, lodging and other facilities furnished by the employer for the employee’s benefit, if certain condi­tions are met.

Overtime Pay

The FLSA generally requires that non-exempt employees working more than 40 hours a week be compen­sated at a rate of one-and-a half times their regular rate of pay for any time exceeding 40 hours in the workweek. An employer is not allowed to average an employee’s work hours during a workweek over a two or more week period. Overtime payments need not be made to exempt or non-covered workers; only to non-exempt, covered employees.

Employer and Employees cannot agree to waive overtime Pay. The FLSA overtime requirement may not be waived by agreement between the employer and an employee. Anytime, an employer requires or permits an employee to work overtime, they are than generally required to pay the employee additional pay for overtime work. Also, an announcement by your employer that no overtime work will be permitted, or that overtime work will not be paid for unless authorized in advance, will generally also not prevent your employer from owing you overtime pay if your employer had knowledge of you working overtime.

II. State Employer Exemptions: Executive, Administrative and Professional

  • Overtime: Oregon has an overtime exemption for qualifying executives, administrators and professionals.
  • Minimum wage: Oregon has a minimum wage exemption for qualifying executives, administrators and professionals.

Additionally, such employer exemptions exist and are available to some employers under the federal wage law (See “Employer Exemptions” located on the homepage under the “Employee Resource Center”).

III. Meal Break Requirements

Eligibility: All employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break.

Duration: Meal breaks must last at least 30 minutes.

Timing: If the shift is seven hours or less, the break should be taken between the second and fifth hour worked. If the shift is more than seven hours, the break should be taken between the third and sixth hour.

Stipulations: During the meal break, the employee must be relieved of all duties for each work period of six to eight hours. Certain tipped food and beverage service employees may voluntarily waive meal periods. The terms of this rule may be modified by a collective bargaining agreement. The break is not included as hours worked for employees under age 16 .

Exceptions: The meal break requirements will be satisfied if an employer can show any of the following: (1) the failure to provide a meal period was the result of unforeseeable circumstances, which rarely and temporar­ily preclude the provision of a meal period; (2) industry practice or custom has established a paid meal period of less than 30 minutes — but no less than 20 minutes — during which an employee is relieved of all duties; or (3) a 30-minule, unpaid meal period to employees who are relieved of all duties would impose an undue hardship on the employer and the employer has paid the employees for meal times provided; given them enough time to eat, rest and visit the restroom (in addition to any required rest periods); and previously given the employee a notice on meal and rest periods.

IV. Rest Break Requirements

Eligibility: Every employee is eligible for a rest break.

Duration: Rest periods must be at least 10 minutes.

Timing: To the extent practical, the rest period should be taken in the middle of each four-hour segment of working time.

Stipulation: Rest breaks must be offered for every four hours worked, and must be counted as hours worked. Rest periods are in addition to required meal periods and cannot be added to the meal period or deducted from the beginning or ending of a shift.

Exceptions: Mandatory rest periods do not apply when all of the following conditions are met: the employee is over age 18; is working less than five hours in any period of 16 continuous hours; is working alone; is employed in a retail or service establishment; and is allowed to leave her work station to use the restroom.

Breastfeeding: Employers must provide “reasonable” unpaid rest periods to accommodate employees who need to express milk for their children. The employee must provide “reasonable” notice that she intends to express milk upon returning to work. Unless otherwise agreed to, the employer must provide a 30-minute rest period to express milk during each four-hour work period, or the major part of a four-hour work period, to be taken by the employee approximately in the middle of the work period. The employee must, if feasible, take the rest periods to express milk at the same time as the rest periods or meal periods that are otherwise provided to the employee.

V. State Contact Information

Bureau of Labor and Industries

800 N.E. Oregon St., #32

Portland, OR 97232

Phone: (503) 731-4070

Fax: (503) 731-4103

E-mail: Boli.Mail@State.OR.US

Web site: http://www.boli.state.or.us/

Portland District Office

US Dept. of Labor

ESA Wage & Hour Division

1515 S.W. Fifth Ave. Suite 1040

Portland, OR 97201-5445

Phone: 1-866-4-USWAGE

Are you covered by the federal wage Law?

For starters, to determine if you maybe covered by the Fair Labor Standard Act, you are encouraged to take the three minute "Step 1: Wage Law Test" found on the upper right-hand side of this webpage.

Does your employer owe you wages?

To determine if your employer may owe you wages under the Fair Labor Standard Act, take the two minute "Step 2: Wage Owed Test" found on the upper right-hand side of this webpage.

Do you believe you have a wage and hour claim?

If you believe that your existing or former employer may have violated your legal rights as an employee by failing to pay you "honest wages for an honest day's work" please feel free to contact the law firm of JonesSatreWeimer for a free consultation (Need a lawyer?).