​Frequently Asked Questions


The following responses to frequently asked questions from employees have been prepared for general information purposes. The Bureau of Labor and Industries Technical Assistance for Employers program also maintains answers to frequently asked questions from employers on its webpage at www.oregon.gov/BOLI/TA.

PLEASE NOTE: Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.

 

 

 

Bonuses & Commissions

Q. What can I do if I have not been paid wages earned on a commission or percentage basis?
A. Is your employer still in business? If so, you may pursue a disputed commission or percentage claim through a private attorney or small claims court (if the claim is $10,000 or less).
  
The Wage and Hour Division will only accept a claim and pursue unpaid minimum wages earned by a person paid on a percentage or commission basis, assuming the person is not exempt from minimum wage. (You may wish to refer to the FAQ on “Commissions” on the Technical Assistance for Employers program FAQ webpage for more information.
 
 
 

Complaints & Wage Claims

The Wage and Hour Division accepts claims for unpaid wages for hours worked or overtime wages for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Additionally, if your employer has gone out of business and you have not been paid your final wages, you may file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division to be paid from the Wage Security Fund. (For more information on the Wage Security Fund, see our online fact sheet [PDF].)
 
Information on filing a claim (including the wage claim form) is available on our website.
   
If you have a wage and hour-related complaint regarding an employer and you are NOT claiming wages, you may submit a complaint through our website.
 
Q. How long will it take to process my claim?
A. Once the division has received your wage claim, it will be reviewed to make sure that all the necessary information has been provided and the division has jurisdiction to pursue your claim. Our process is to send a letter to the employer regarding the wage claim after it has been received and screened, and the employer has 10 business days to respond. Typically, the initial letter to the employer is issued within a week to 10 days of receipt of the claim.
  
If the employer disputes the claim, unless it is a claim for unpaid benefits, it will be assigned to a compliance specialist for investigation, generally within a couple of weeks. The division does not pursue wage claims for unpaid benefits beyond sending a letter to the employer asking that it pay any unpaid benefits owed.
 
If you have a valid wage claim, BOLI will attempt to recover all wages owed, but collection depends upon your employer’s financial ability to pay, business closure, bankruptcy filing or location of money and assets. Once a wage claim is assigned to the bureau, the bureau may compromise or adjust any and all wage claim amounts or penalties. 
  
The length of an investigation can vary depending on the complexity of the claim and the responsiveness of the parties involved.
 
Q.What happens if I file a complaint against my employer?
A.  Typically, the Wage and Hour Division will send a letter to the employer, notifying it of the complaint and the requirements of the law, and advising the employer to take corrective action, if necessary, to bring itself into compliance. If multiple complaints are filed against an employer, the division will review the nature of the complaints and may elect to conduct an investigation.
 
Q. What other options do I have to pursuing a claim through BOLI?
A. If you do not wish to file a claim with BOLI, you have the option to filing a claim in the small claims court in the county in which the employer is located (if the amount is $10,000 or less) or consulting a private attorney.
 
Additional information regarding the wage claim process is available from our online fact sheet [PDF].
 
 
 

Deductions

Q. My Employer is making deductions from my wages which I'm not sure are legal. What can I do?
A. Refer to the "Deductions factsheet" and the "Deductions Statute" on the "FAQs for Employers" webpage for information about permissible deductions. If you believe your employer is making unlawful deductions from your wages, you may wish to file a wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division. 
 
 
 

Final Paychecks

Q. How long does an employer have to pay me after I quit, am fired, or laid off?
A. The deadline for final paychecks depends on the situation.
  • 48 Hours Notice If you have given your employer notice at least 48 hours before your final day of employment, you are required to be paid on your final working day.
  • No Notice If you do not give 48 hours notice before your final day of employment, your employer must pay you within five working days, excluding weekends and holidays, or the next regular payday, whichever occurs first.
  • Terminated or Laid Off If you are terminated or laid off permanently, your employer is required to pay you by the end of the next business day or the next regular payday, whichever occurs first.
  • Temporary Lay-off In the case of a temporary lay-off, the employer has until the next scheduled payday to give you your paycheck.
 
If your employer has gone out of business and you have not been paid your final wages, you may file a claim with the Wage and Hour Division to be paid from the Wage Security Fund. (For more information on the Wage Security Fund, see our online fact sheet [PDF].)
 
For additional information on final pay, please see our Final Paycheck Factsheet [PDF]. 
 
 
 

Independent Contractors

For information about the differences between independent contractors and employees under wage and hour law, please see our fact sheet [PDF].
 
Oregon’s Interagency Compliance Network also provides a clearinghouse of information, including answers to frequently asked questions related to proper classification of employees under various state laws at www.oregon.gov/ic
 
 
 

Maximum Hours for Truck Drivers

Q. What are the maximum hours a truck driver may work?
A.  The Oregon Department of Transportation regulates maximum hours for truck drivers. For more information, call ODOT Transportation Safety at 1-(800) 922-2022. 
 
 
 

Minimum Wage

Q. What is the minimum wage? 
A. All Oregon employees must receive at least the state minimum wage rate for all hours worked, regardless of how they are paid, unless the employee is exempt under Oregon law. For more information about Oregon's minimum wage including maps and a schedule of increases visit our Oregon Minimum Wage Summary webpage.
 
July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018 (Current Minimum Wage Rate)
  • Standard Counties - $10.25 per hour
  • Portland Metro - $11.25 per hour
  • Non-Urban Counties - $10.00 per hour
For more information about paycheck laws and regulations, please review our "Minimum Wage and the Payment of Wages" brochure.
 
Q. Is the minimum wage the same for both adult and minor employees?
A. There is no distinction made between adults and minors when it comes to payment of the minimum wage.  
 
 
 

Minors in the Workplace

Q. At what age may a minor begin work?
A. Generally, in non-agricultural employment, minors may begin working at age 14 in specific occupations when school is not in session. There are some exceptions for minors under 14.
 
Q. Are minors required to obtain a work permit before working?
A. No. The requirement for minors to obtain work permits was abolished in September 1995.  Employers of minors 14-17 years of age, however, are required to obtain an Employment Certificate from the Wage and Hour Divison before employing minors.
 
Refer to the "Employment of Minors" brochure on our "Child Labor" website for general information on topics like the types of occupations are prohibited for minors and what hours of work are permitted for minor employees.
 
 
 

No Work/Show-Up Time

Q. If I report to work but get sent home because of a lack of work, am I entitled to be paid for coming in?
A. Not unless you are a minor under 18 years of age. Employers are required to compensate adult employees only for hours actually worked. 
 
Minors (under 18 years of age) who are required to report to work must be provided adequate work to earn at least one-half the amount that would be earned during the minor’s regularly scheduled hours of work. Employers must pay minor employees for no less than one hour of work or half the scheduled shift, whichever is greater.
 
 
 

Overtime Pay

Q. When is overtime pay required under Oregon law?
A. Most employees are entitled to be paid time and one-half their regular rate of pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a week. Some employees may be exempt from being paid overtime. (Refer to “Overtime” FAQ on the FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.)
 
For information about the application of daily and weekly overtime rates to workers employed in manufacturing establishments, please see our fact sheet.
 
Q. Is my employer required to pay me time and one-half for working on a legal holiday?
A. Overtime is generally required to be paid only after an employee works more than 40 hours in one week. Holiday pay is subject to the policy of the employer.
 
 
 

Paydays

Q. How frequently must I be paid?
A. 
Employers must establish and maintain regular paydays. Paydays may not be more than 35 days apart. ORS 652.120(1)&(2).  Employers may not withhold or delay paychecks as a form of discipline. 
 
Underpayments
When the employer has been notified the employee has been underpaid and there is no dispute, the employee must be paid the undisputed underpaid wages regardless of the cause of the underpayment.  
 
When the underpayment is less than five percent of the employee’s gross wages, the amount may be paid on the next regular payday.  If the underpayment is more than five percent of the gross, the amount must be paid to the employee within three business days. ORS 652.120(5).
 
Methods of Payment
Payment of wages must be made in cash or by a negotiable instrument payable on demand without fee or discount at a bank or other place of business in the county where it was issued. An employee may authorize the employer to deposit wages into the employee’s account in a bank, credit union, or savings and loan within the state. ORS 652.110. 
 
Q. Can my employer require direct deposit or payment by debit card?
A. Oregon law allows employers to pay wages by direct deposit but you can opt out either verbally or in writing. Employers are also able to pay employees by automated teller machine card, payroll card, or other means of electronic transfer as long as the employee voluntarily agrees.  The employee must be able to make an initial withdrawal of the entire amount without cost or be able to choose another means of receiving wages which does not involve any cost to the employee. ORS 652.110(5).
 
Employers who use the direct deposit, automated teller machine card, or payroll card method of paying wages must still provide an itemized statement and meet the deadlines applicable to final paychecks.  The final paycheck may be paid by direct deposit, automated teller machine card, or payroll card with the agreement of the departing employee. ORS 652.140(4). 
 
Q. If I am late getting my time sheet in, may my employer delay paying me my wages until the information is received?
A. No, it is the employer's responsibility to track hours worked and to pay all employees on regular paydays. That said, other disciplinary measures may be taken when employees fail to meet expectations.
 
 
 

Penalty Wages

Q. Am I entitled to receive damages/penalties from my employer for failing to pay me as required upon termination?
A. Yes; you may pursue these penalties through a private attorney or small claims court in the county in which the employer is located (if the amount of the claim is $10,000 or less).  The Wage and Hour Division does not generally pursue the collection of penalty wages unless it is also pursuing the payment of unpaid wages determined to be due and is compelled to take legal or administrative action in order to enforce a claim.
 
Q. How are penalty wages computed?
A. The penalty may not exceed 100% of the unpaid wages if the employer pays the wages due within 12 days after written notice of nonpayment is sent to the employer and the employer has not willfully violated the final pay provisions of the law in the preceding year.
  
If the employer fails to pay within 12 days after the employee has given written notice, the penalty wages due are equal to the employee’s hourly rate for eight hours per day for each day the employee remains unpaid up to a maximum of 30 days.
 
 
 

Personnel Records

Q. Do I have a right to view my personnel file?
A. You have a right to view what the law defines as your "personnel records." Personnel records covered under the law include those records which are used or have been used to determine an employee's qualification for employment, promotion, additional compensation, employment termination, or other disciplinary action.  In addition, effective January 1, 2017,  employers must now make time and pay records available to employees in the same manner as personnel records.
 
Within 45 days of receiving an employee's request, employers are required to provide a reasonable opportunity for the employee to inspect certain personnel records at the employee's place of employment or work assignment.
 
At an employee’s request, the employer is also required to furnish a certified copy of such records within 45 days at a reasonable charge to the employee to cover the cost of producing the copy.  Note: Employers are only required to keep personnel records for 60 days after the employee’s termination.
 
Q. I requested to see my personnel records, but my employer refused.  What now?
A.  If you have requested to inspect your personnel records or you have requested copies of your records and your employer has failed to provide them to you, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Divison.
 
 
 

Posters

Q. My employer doesn’t display the required minimum wage poster on site. What can I do?
A. If your employer is not displaying the minimum wage poster as required, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division regarding the issue. 
  
Please be sure to select option for "Other" on our complaint form, and then, in the "Describe the Problem" field enter "My employer has not post the required minimum wage poster."
 
 
 

Reason for Termination

Q. If I’m fired from my job, doesn’t my employer have to give me a reason?
A. Not necessarily. The same is true if you were to quit; you would not have to tell your employer why.  This is because Oregon is considered an "at-will" employment state, meaning, unless there is a contract or statute which sets conditions on terminations, Oregon employers may discharge an employee at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all.
 
Oregon law does prohibit an employer from discriminating against an employee because that employee is a member of a particular class protected by law, such race, sex or religion among others.  You may wish to consult with the Civil Rights Division (CRD) of the Bureau of Labor and Industries if you think you were fired as a result of unlawful discrimination.  The number for CRD is (971) 673-0764.
 
 
 

Rest and Meal Periods

Q. What meal and rest periods are required by law?
A. The answer here depends on whether the employee is under 18 years of age (a minor) or an adult.
 
For Adults: Meal periods of 30 minutes must be provided to non-exempt employees if the workday is six hours or longer. Employees are required to be relieved of all duty during this time unless an exception permitted under the law applies that prevents the employee from being relieved, in which case the employee must be paid for this time. The scheduling of meal periods depends on the length of the workday.
 
Paid rest periods of at least ten minutes must be provided during each four-hour segment of work or major portion of four hours. The rest period is to be taken approximately in the middle of each work segment.  There are some exceptions to the rest/meal period provisions for union members. (Refer to “Meal Periods and Rest Breaks” FAQ on the Review FAQs for Employers webpage for more information).
 
Rest periods for expression of milk: Employers of 25 or more employees are also required to provide unpaid rest periods of at least 30 minutes for each four-hour work period for employees to express milk unless to do so would cause an undue hardship on the employer. (Refer to “Breaks: Expression of Breast Milk” FAQ on the Review FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.)

For Minors: Meal periods of at least 30 minutes must be provided no later than five hours and one minute after the minor reports to work. 14 and 15-year-old minors must be fully relieved of work duties during this time - no exceptions.  Under specific circumstances 16 and 17 year olds may work during the meal period, but they must be paid for their time. This is only permissible when the nature of the work makes it impossible to completely relieve the employee from his/her duties. 
 
Paid rest periods of at least 15 minutes must be provided to minor employees during each four-hour segment of work or major portion of four hours of work time.  As the nature of the work allows, breaks should be provided approximately midway through each four-hour period of work. 
 
For all employees: With the exception of certain adult tipped food and beverage service workers, meal periods may not be waived or used to adjust working hours. Likewise, rest periods may not be added to the meal period or deducted from the beginning or end of the work period in order to reduce the length of the work period.
 
Q. My employer does not provide required rest and meal periods. What can I do?
A. You may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division. Typically, the division will send a letter to the employer, notifying it of the complaint and of the requirements of the law, and advising the employer to take corrective action, if necessary to bring itself into compliance. If multiple complaints against are filed against an employer, the division will review the nature of the complaints and may elect to conduct an investigation.
 
 
 

Salary / Overtime

Q. If I’m paid a salary, do I still qualify for overtime pay?
A.  Being paid a salary doesn’t automatically mean you are exempt from overtime. (Refer to “Overtime” and “Salaried Exempt Employees FAQs on the Review FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.)   Unless specifically exempted, the law requires most employers to pay overtime at the rate of 1.5 times the regular rate for all hours over 40 in the workweek. (Special overtime rules apply to government agencies, hospitals, canneries and manufacturing establishments. )
 
 
 

Tips

Q. Can my employer take my tips? 
A. Under state wage and hour law, employers are not allowed to use tips as a credit toward paying minimum wage.  However, as long as the employer pays no less than the minimum wage, the Wage and Hour Division does not regulate or accept wage claims for tips.
 
 
 

Toilet Facilities

Q. Is my employer required to provide toilet facilities?
A. Pursuant to OAR 839-020-0065 (Other Working Conditions), (1) No employer shall employ or shall suffer or permit any employee to work in the State of Oregon, except under the following conditions: (e) Where adequate toilet facilities are provided.
 
If your employer is not providing adequate toilet facilities, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division. In response to your complaint, the division will send a letter to the employer notifying it of the complaint and the requirements of the law, and advising it to take corrective action, if necessary, to bring itself into compliance.
 
In addition, you are encouraged to contact the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) at enforce.web@state.or.us or (503) 378-3272.
 
Pursuant to OAR 839-020-0065, in order to determine that an employer is out of compliance (and thus liable for a civil penalty), the Wage and Hour Division needs OSHA to determine that the employer is non-compliant. This is why we ask complainants to contact OSHA directly. While there is overlapping jurisdiction, OSHA is the best resource on these issues. OSHA prefers complainants to contact it directly so its staff can ask important questions before determining whether or not to conduct a workplace inspection.
 
 
 

Union Members

Q. If I am a union member and I have a wage dispute with my employer, what can I do?
A. Depending on the nature of the dispute and the union contract, some union members may file a wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division. Other disputes must be resolved using the union grievance procedure. For more information, contact us via email at whdscreener@boli.state.or.us or call 971-673-0844.
 
 
 

W-2's

Q. It is tax time and my employer did not mail me my W-2’s. What can I do?
A.  This is not a matter over which BOLI has jurisdiction. Refer to the IRS website or call the IRS contact number for assistance at 800-829-1040.
 
 
 

Additional Information

 
Contact the Wage and Hour Division.
Online:  www.oregon.gov/boli  Email:  whdscreener@boli.state.or.us
Telephone:  971-673-0844 (Ore. Relay TTY: 711). Se habla español.
 
Rev 06/2017