Employer Insights

Oregon Labor Laws - The Complete Guide for 2023

by Scott Herson-Hord, on Apr 28, 2021 9:21:00 AM

In addition to the federal labor laws companies must comply with, Oregon has its own set of labor laws that govern working conditions and compensation management laws. Oregon labor laws cover a wide variety of employment situations including discrimination, pay, leave, breaks, workplace safety, and payroll taxes.

Unless you're a larger company (and even still), you may want to leverage an Oregon payroll & HR service company like GNSA to help with understanding and complying with the state's labor laws that follow and assist with establishing policies, processes, and software to stay compliant with legislation.

Oregon Discrimination Laws

Harassment and Discrimination Policy

The Oregon Workplace Fairness Act (OWFA), effective October 1, 2020, requires all Oregon employers to have a written harassment and discrimination policy containing procedures and practices for the reduction and prevention of discrimination against individuals which fall under Oregon’s protected categories. 

Protected categories are considered any of the following: 

  • Race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, age, expunged juvenile record, performance of duty in a uniformed service, or physical or mental disability. 

Policies created under OWFA must also:

  • Provide a process for reporting prohibited conduct and identify who in the organization is responsible, including at least one alternate, for intaking complaints
  • Describe the new five-year statute of limitations applicable to employee claims of prohibited conduct
  • State that the employer “may not require or coerce an employee to enter into a nondisclosure or nondisparagement agreement” and include an explanation of those terms as described under the OWFA
  • Explain that an employee claiming discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault may voluntarily request an agreement that provides for nondisparagement and nondisclosure language, and a no rehire provision, otherwise prohibited by the OWFA
  • Advise employers and employees to document any incidents involving conduct prohibited by Oregon discrimination law 

For ease-of-use Oregon has created a sample OWFA Policy for employers in both English and Spanish. 

Employers must make their OWFA policy available to every employee in the workplace. New employees must be given a copy of the policy at the time of hire. Also, any employee who complains of discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault must be given a copy of the policy.

Ban the Box

Under Oregon’s ban the box law it is unlawful for an employer to inquire about an applicant’s criminal conviction before the interview stage of hiring. Typically, criminal history is asked on a job application. If an interview is not conducted, an employer may not require applicants to disclose criminal conviction prior to the employer making a conditional job offer. 

The City of Portland employers must adhere to a stricter “ban the box” ordinance. Employers in Portland employers must wait until a conditional job offer has been made before inquiring about criminal histories. 

Oregon Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence, Harassment, Sexual Assault & Stalking

Under Oregon Law employers may not discriminate in employment because an individual is a victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employers must also provide reasonable changes to support employees who experience domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking or are the parent or guardian of the victim. An employer’s reasonable changes include transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, unpaid leave, changed work number, changed workstation, installed lock, new safety procedure, or other adjustment after threatened or actual events. In addition, victims may have protective leave to find legal or law enforcement assistance, get metal treatment or mental health support, change living situation

Oregon Pay & Compensation Laws 

In order to successfully process payroll in Oregon, employers need to ensure a proper understanding of Oregon payroll and compensation laws.

Here is what employers should know when processing payroll in Oregon.

Minimum Wage

Oregon has three minimum wages directed by geographic region through June 30, 2024. Note the correct wage an employer should pay depends on the employee’s work location. 

  • Non-urban Counties minimum wage is $13.20 per hour.
  • Standard Counties minimum wage is $14.20 per hour. 
  • Portland Metro Area minimum wage is $15.45 per hour. 
  • For employees who travel for work or work in more than one type of location;
    • The minimum wage is the wage of the county where the employee works 50% or more of their working hours per week. 
    • Employers may also choose to pay the minimum wage for each county where an employee works.

Oregon’s minimum wage has an increases scheduled every year on July 1st through 2023. After which minimum wage increases, if any, will be calculated based on inflation data each year by BOLI no later than April 30th:


Standard Counties

Portland Metro Area

Nonurban Counties

July 1, 2019




July 1, 2020




July 1, 2021




July 1, 2022




July 1, 2023




July 1, 2024

Adjusted annually based on the increase, if any, to the US City average Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers

$1.25 over the standard minimum wage

$1 less than the standard minimum wage

If not covered in an Oregon labor law poster, you will need to post a Oregon minimum wage poster or notice in a common space in your workplace that can be made visible to all employees. 


Oregon overtime law entitles most hourly employees to overtime pay for any time worked over a total of 40 hours in a standard or single work week. A single work week is defined as any 7 consecutive workdays. Overtime pay is set at one and a half times an employee’s normal hourly wage. 

In addition to the payroll basics, HR professionals must pay close attention to Oregon's special overtime rules by industry and for workers in packing plants, logging camps, canneries, mills, driers, and factories. While a variety of people are exempted from overtime in Oregon, including those who work as fishermen, work for commission, or work in a "white collar" industry and earn over $27.63 per hour.

Labor law can prevent hospitals from requiring nurses to work over 12 hours a day or over 40 hours a week, although nurses can go over the limit if they choose to. However, there are generally no limits on how much overtime can be required from any other type of worker except as it relates to child labor law or juveniles under the age of 18.

Oregon Equal Pay

Oregon employers, under the Oregon Equal Pay Act, are required to pay employee equal pay for equal work regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age. Equal pay may not be achieved by making pay cuts. If not included in a labor law poster, employers must post an updated Oregon Equal Pay Notice visible to employees in a common area. 

Paychecks and Pay Periods

Oregon law requires that employers pay employees on a regular payday schedule which is not to be more than 35 days apart. In addition, employers may not withhold or delay a paycheck as a form of discipline or in exchange for the return of employer-owned items held by an employee.

Oregon Final Pay Rule

Businesses need to ensure a proper understanding of Oregon Final Pay rules and regulations when employees leave or are terminated. 

The specific rules and legal requirements for delivering the final paycheck to employees are as follows:

For employees who quit without providing 48 hours’ notice, excluding weekend and holidays, the final paycheck must be received within 5 business days or the next regular payday, whichever comes first.

For employees who quit and have provided 48 hours’ notice, the final paycheck must be received on an employee's last day of employment, unless that day is a weekend or holiday. If a weekend or holiday, the final paycheck is due the next business day.

For employees who are terminated by the employer OR employees who leave employment by mutual agreement, the final paycheck must be received by the end of the first business day after an employee leaves or is terminated by the organization.

Deductions from Final Pay

Final paychecks should include all earned wages that an employee has not yet received. An employer may make a deduction to final pay when (and only when):

  • It is legally required to do so (such as for taxes)
  • The employee has given written consent for the deduction and the deduction is not for the employer’s benefit (for example, for an employee savings plan)
  • The deduction is for a charitable donation
  • The deduction is related to dues for a labor organization
  • The deduction is related to repayments for a loan agreed between the employer and employee
  • The deduction is authorized by a collective bargaining agreement 

Oregon employers are not required to offer any vacation days to employees. However, when an employer does provide vacation as part of its employment contract, the final paycheck should include payment for the unused vacation an employee is entitled to receive. 

As the intersection of Human Resources and other departments are often blurred, especially in start-ups and smaller companies it is important for HR professionals in Oregon to remain vigilant with well-established employee handbooks and policies. This may include seeking outside compliance help and subscriptions to outside resources to assist in compliance and risk mitigation when it comes to Payroll and all of the processes incumbent to properly administering payroll within a company. 

Oregon Payroll Tax Laws

In addition to traditional regulations around payroll processing, there are certain laws and payroll taxes that Oregon businesses should also be aware of.

Oregon Transit Tax

On July 1, 2018, HB 2017, the Statewide Transit Tax (STT) went into effect, which requires all employers to withhold, report, and remit one-tenth of one percent (or 0.001%) of wages paid to employees. The STT is calculated based on the employee's wages as defined in ORS 316.162. Revenue from the STT goes into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund to finance investments and improvements in public transportation services, except for those involving light rail.

TriMet Tax

The Mass-Transit (TriMet) Tax is paid by the employer to the Oregon Department of Revenue and helps fund mass transportation in the TriMet District. Employers can determine if they are located in the TriMet District by viewing the zip code boundary list. 

Effective January 1, 2021, the tax rate increased to 0.7837% of the wages paid by an employer and the net earnings from self-employment for services performed within the TriMet District boundary.

Oregon Leave Laws 

Employers in Oregon must adhere to several different laws regarding employee leave in the state, in addition to any federal laws that apply. These include things Oregon Sick TIme, Oregon Family Leave, and Oregon Paid Leave.

Oregon Sick Time

Oregon sick time law entitles employees to receive paid sick time if the employer has 10 or more employees. In Portland, employers must provide paid sick time if they have 6 or more employees. For any companies smaller than these, unpaid sick time is required. When creating a policy for employees, these Oregon Sick Leave Policy Samples will help reduce risk of non-compliance and make required sick time easier to initially implement if it's not done already.

Employers need to provide 1-hour of sick for every 30 hours worked up to 40 hours per year. Employees may begin to take sick time after worked they have worked for their employer for 90 days. Employers must regularly inform employees the amount of sick time they have earned. 

Similarly to OFLA, employees must be notified of their rights, so a Oregon paid sick time poster or notice must be posted. 

Oregon Sick Time Policy Sample Template

Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA)

The Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) mandates that an employer with 25 or more employees must allow employees to take up to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave if the employee has worked an average of 25 hours per week for the previous 180 days. 

Leave covered under OFLA:

  • Parental Leave either parent can take time off for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. 
  • Employee's Own Serious Health Condition or to care for a spouse, parent, parent-in-law, or child
  • Pregnancy Disability Leave before or after birth of child or for prenatal care. 
  • Sick Child Leave for the employee’s child with an illness or injury that requires home care but is not serious.
    • Employee’s child’s school or childcare provider is closed due to a statewide public health emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic school closures.
  • Military Family Leave up to 14 days if employee’s spouse is a service member who has been called to active duty or is on leave from active duty
  • Bereavement Leave up to 2 weeks of leave after the death of a spouse, same-gender domestic partner or custodial or non-custodial parent. 

During OFLA employers must continue to provide employees the same health insurance benefits when on leave as when at work. Additionally, employees must be returned to their former job or a similar position if the old job no longer exists.

In order to notify employees of their leave rights, an OFLA notice or posting must be made available. 

UPDATE: Paid leave is available as of September 3, 2023 through Paid Leave Oregon covered in the next section of this article. 

OFLA Sample Policy Template

Paid Leave Oregon

Paid Leave Oregon does not replace any existing Oregon sick time or leave programs, such as OFLA, FMLA, or Oregon sick time. Instead, paid leave often must run concurrently with these programs if the employer meets eligibility thresholds to comply. 

Through Paid Leave Oregon, employees working throughout Oregon, in any sized business, are eligible for up to 12 weeks paid leave in a year (if the employee has made at least $1,000 in the calendar year leading up to submitting an application to the state). In some pregnancy-related situations, an employee may be able to take up to two more weeks for a total of 14 weeks. 

This is not paid leave from the company, but from a state fund (similar to state unemployment). It is funded by contributions from the employee and / or employer. 

The total contribution rate in 2023 for Paid Leave Oregon is 1% of an employee's gross earnings each pay period. The employee contribution is 60% of the total contribution rate (meaning 0.6% of an employee's gross earnings is deducted each pay period). The employer is required to contribute the remaining 40% of the total contribution rate only if the employer has 25 employees or more. Otherwise, the State of Oregon covers the remaining 40%.

No matter the size of the business, on January 1, 2023, employers were required to set up payroll these deductions to collect and remit contributions quarterly to the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR) AND report total employee counts and wages in Frances Online.

As of September 3, 2023, employees can submit applications for paid leave through the Paid Leave Oregon website.

Oregon Scheduling Laws

As of 2017 businesses in Oregon must maintain compliance with Oregon Predictive Scheduling.

Predictive scheduling applies to all employers in the state in the retail, hospitality, or food services industries with 500 or more employees, and was created with the primary intention of giving employees who need to care for children or other family members a chance to allocate their time appropriately, without sacrificing shifts and the opportunity to work.

Included in the legislation are requirements regarding schedules, shift changes, breaks, and more.

Oregon Break Laws

Oregon law provides three breaks during the typical 8-hour work day, but the number of breaks required will vary based on time worked.

Rest and Meal Breaks

Oregon employers must provide an employer paid rest break of 10 minutes for every 4 hours of work in one work period.

Employers must also provide a non-paid meal break or lunch break of at least 30 minutes to employees who work 6 to 8 hours in one work period. A meal break is not required if the work period is less than 6 hours. Additional meal breaks are required to be provided to employees who works 14 hours or more in a shift.

Meal breaks or lunch breaks are only non-paid if the employee is relieved of all duties. If an employee performs any duties during a meal break the employer must pay the employee for the whole meal break. 

Here is a breakdown of required breaks for work periods with varying durations including and beyond the typical 8 hour shift or workday:

Shift Length

Rest Breaks

Meal Breaks

2 hours or less



2 hours 1 minute - 5 hours 59 minutes



6 hours



6 hours 1 minute - 10 hours



10 hours 1 minute - 13 hours 59 minutes



14 hours



14 hours 1 minute - 18 hours



18 hours 1 minute - 21 hours 59 minutes



22 hours



22 hours 1 minute - 24 hours




Express Milk Break 

Oregon employers are required to provide employees including hourly, salaried, and part-time, an appropriate / private location to express milk. This requirement lasts until the child is 18 months of age. Employers with 10 or fewer employees may assert an exemption if providing these breaks imposes an “undue hardship.”

For more information on required breaks or other Oregon Labor Laws regarding wages, leave, and other general employment conditions, you can reference ORS653 to see the legislation directly.

Oregon Workplace Safety Laws

Oregon employers have a long list of requirements when it comes to health and safety in the workplace. Particularly, certain industries need to be aware of special requirements under Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division guidelines, especially for industries more common or unique to Oregon. 

In addition to Oregon OSHA laws, employers should be aware of any federal requirements that also apply.

Oregon Safe Employment Act

In 1973, Oregon enacted the Oregon Safe Employment Act, which seeks to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees who work in Oregon. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) administers the Act and provides jurisdiction over private organizations and governments, local and state. As such, Oregon OSHA can inspect workplaces to ensure compliance.

Oregon OSHA provides a free OSHA poster for employers. 

Oregon Employee Benefit Laws

Employers in Oregon need to be aware of two things in particular when it comes to administering employee benefits in the state. First, the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Oregon, and more importantly, the Oregon Retirement Plan Mandate.

Oregon Retirement Plan Mandate and OregonSaves

The Oregon retirement plan mandate requires by law that all employers in Oregon must offer a qualified Oregon retirement plan to employees. If the employer does not have a retirement plan, OregonSaves must be facilitated. Registration was required by certain dates based on the following employer sizes:

  • Employers with 1-2 employees: July 31, 2023
  • Employers with 3-4 employees: March 1, 2023
  • Employers with 5-9 employees: November 15, 2019
  • Employers with 10-19 employees: May 15, 2019
  • Employers with 20 or more employees: December 15, 2018
  • Employers with 50-99 employees: May 15, 2018
  • Employers with 100+ employees: November 15, 2017

It is now required for all businesses with at least one employee as well as those utilizing a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or Leasing Agency to offer a qualified retirement plan or OregonSaves.

Qualified retirement plans include: 

  • 401(k)
  • Simplified Employee Pension plan
  • Governmental deferred compensation plan
  • Qualified annuity
  • Tax-sheltered annuity plan

While OregonSaves is somewhat simple to get started with, it may not the best benefit for employees, nor the best administrative option for employers. Oregon businesses should consider reaching out to an Oregon Payroll Service about payroll-integrated 401(k) plans.

Get Help With Oregon Labor Laws

Oregon has specific labor laws that vary by geographic region and cover most employment situations. These labor laws were created to give guidance to the employer and to protect employees. Research and understanding the various labor laws will ensure employers' adherence to Oregon law and reduce payroll errors

Oregon is known for its frequent legislative updates when it comes to labor laws, and so it is crucial to have an Oregon Payroll and HR Service at your back, that can support your compliance, HR, and payroll operations.

Contact us today to get help, or find a provider in Oregon today.

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Guest Author: Scott Herson-Hord

Scott Herson-Hord Headshot-1Scott Herson-Hord is the CEO of Great Northern Staff Administrators (GNSA), an Oregon payroll services company that specializes in serving small to mid-size businesses with administrative solutions to streamline back-office processes from benefits to human resources. Starting his career in finance and working more than 10 years as a controller for various companies, Scott leveraged this experience over the next 22 years with GNSA to become one of the pacific northwest’s foremost experts in human capital management (HCM).

Topics:PayrollComplianceOregon Labor Laws

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