Oregon’s Minimum Wage Law: What Your Business Needs to Know

Minimum WageGovernor Kate Brown recently signed a law that will raise Oregon’s minimum wage from its current place at $9.25 per hour to as high as $14.75 per hour in certain areas.  But what makes this law stand out from any other in the United States is the way in which it sets separate minimums in urban centers and rural areas.

The law requires that employers pay workers a minimum of $12.50 per hours in rural areas, $13.50 in midsize counties, and $14.75 inside Portland’s urban growth boundary, by 2022.

The first date for a rise in the minimum wage is July 1, 2016.

Here’s what you need to know:

Circle July 1 on your calendar from now on.

Past increases in Oregon’s minimum wage have gone into effect on January 1.  Starting in 2016, each new increase will go into effect on July 1 instead.

For 2016, this means that employers in Portland and medium-density counties will need to raise their minimum wage from $9.25 to $9.75 per hour no later than July 1, 2016.  In rural counties, employers will need to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by this date.

Keep an eye on the labor commissioner to find out where employees “work.”

The law states that employees must be paid a minimum wage that is based on the “employer location.”  But where is the employer “located”?  For instance, if your headquarters is in Portland but your employees work mostly in a rural county, what will you pay them?

The state’s labor commissioner is responsible for making a decision on this question.  Comments from both the legislature and the governor, however, seem to indicate that you’ll pay employees according to where they work, not where the headquarters is located.

What about employees who travel?

Many companies have employees that travel through or between different density zones as part of their jobs – making sales calls, delivering goods, and doing other tasks.  What you’ll have to pay them is another open question the labor commissioner will be addressing in the coming months.

At TERRA Staffing Group, our experienced Portland recruiters can help you control staffing costs without sacrificing the quality talent you need.  Contact us today to learn more about our staffing services in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona.

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