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Frequently Asked Questions
Topics Questions
Complaints What happens if I file a complaint against my employer? To file a complaint please visit our File a Complaint webpage.
Computing Penalty Wages How are penalty wages computed?
Deductions My employer is making deductions I'm not sure are legal from my paycheck. What Can I do?
Final Paychecks How long does an employer have to pay me after I quit, am fired, or laid off?
Independent Contractor Independent contractor questions
Maximum Hours for Truck Drivers What are the maximum hours a truck driver may work?
Minimum Wage What is the minimum wage in my location? Is the minimum wage the same for both adult and minor employees?
No Work/Show-Up Time If I report to work and my employer sends me home because of a lack of work, am I entitled to be paid for the full day?
Overtime/Holiday Is my employer required to pay me time and one-half for working on a legal holiday?
Overtime Pay When is overtime pay required under Oregon law?
Paydays How frequently must I be paid?
Penalty Wages Am I entitled to receive damages/penalties from my employer for failing to pay me as required upon termination?
Bonuses & Commissions What can I do if I have not been paid wages earned on a percentage or commission basis?
Personnel Records Questions regarding personnel records and what is required by law to be provided
Posters My employer doesn’t display the required minimum wage poster in the establishment. What can I do?
Reason for Termination If I’m fired from my job, doesn’t my employer have to give me a reason?
Rest and Meal Periods What meal and rest periods are required by law?
Rest and Meal Periods Not Provided My employer does not provide required rest and meal periods. What can I do?
Salary/Overtime If I'm paid a salary, do I still qualify for overtime pay?
Time for Processing Wage Claims How long will it take to process my claim?
Tips Questions about tips
Toilet Facilities Is my employer required to provide toliet facilities?
Union Members If I am a union member and have a wage dispute with my employer, what can I do?
Unpaid Wages My employer hasn't paid me. What can I do?
W-2's It is tax time and my employer did not mail me my W-2's. What can I do?
Age of Minors At what age may a minor begin work?
Types of Work Allowed for Minors What types of occupationa are prohibited for minors?
Work Hours for Minors What hours of work are permitted for minors?
Work Permits Are minors required to obtain a work permit before working?


 
 
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. 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.

 

 
 
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 pursue collection of these amounts by:
  1. Filing a wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division;
  2. 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,
  3. Consulting a private attorney.
 
 

 
 
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.
 
For additional information, please see our Final Paycheck Factsheet [PDF].  FAQs and answers about paychecks and final pay is also avaialble from our Technical Assistance for Employers unit.

 

 
 
Q. Independent contractor questions
A.For information about the differences between independent contractors and employees under wage and hour law, please see our fact sheet [PDF].

 
Answers to frequently asked questions by employers about independent contractors are available from our Technical Assistance for Employers unit. Oregon’s Interagency Compliance Network also provides a clearinghouse of information related to proper classification of employees at www.oregon.gov/ic.

 

 
 
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.

 

 
 
Q. What is the minimum wage? Is the minimum wage the same for both adult and minor employees?
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, 2016 - June 30, 2017 (Current Minimum Wage Rate)
  • Standard Counties - $9.75 per hour
  • Portland Metro - $9.75 per hour
  • Non-Urban Counties - $9.50 per hour
For more information about paycheck laws and regulations, please review our “Minimum Wage and the Payment of Wages” brochure on the “Wage and Hour” website.
 

There is no distinction made between adults and minors when it comes to payment of the minimum wage.

 

 
 
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. (Refer to “Show-up Pay or Adequate Work” FAQ on the Review FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.)

 
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.

 

 
 
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, regardless of whether or not a holiday occurs in the workweek. Holiday pay is subject to the policy of the employer.

 

 
 
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 [PDF].

 

 
 
Q. How frequently must I be paid?
A. Regular paydays must be established and maintained by every employer. Paydays cannot be more than 35 days apart. (Refer to “Paydays and Paychecks” FAQ on the Review FAQs for Employerswebpage for more information.)

 

 
 
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. 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. (Refer to “Commissions” FAQ on the Review FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.

 

 
 
Q. Questions regarding personnel records and what is required by law to be provided.
A. 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.

 
Personnel records covered under the law include 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.

 
At the employee’s request, the employer is required to furnish a certified copy of such records within 45 days at a reasonable charge to the employee. Employers are only required to keep personnel records for 60 days after the employee’s termination.

 
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.

 

 
 
Q. My employer doesn’t display the required minimum wage poster in the establishment. 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. The complaint form may be downloaded from: http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/docs/complaint.pdf.

 
Please be sure to select “other” on our complaint form because there is not a specific box to check for “not displaying required posters.” Then, in the “Describe the Problem” field enter “employer is not posting the required minimum wage poster."

 

 
 
Q. If I’m fired from my job, doesn’t my employer have to give me a reason?
A. No. The same is true if you quit. You do not have to tell your employer why. (Refer to “Employment at Will” FAQ on the FAQs for Employers webpage for more information.)

 
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 - CRD Telephone: (971) 673-0764.

 

 
 
Q. What meal and rest periods are required by law?
A. 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 thereof. 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 are 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.)

 
A. 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. Sixteen and 17 year olds may work during the meal period, but 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 hours (or major portion) of work time. If possible, breaks should be provided approximately midway through each four-hour period of work.
 

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.

Download the complaint form here.

 

 
 
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.)

 

 
 
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.

 
The length of an investigation can vary depending on the issues and parties involved.

 

 
 
Q. Questions about 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. The US DOL prohibits employers from retaining an employee's tips except in a valid tip pooling arrangement, i.e., one that includes employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

 
For additional information on tip pooling, see the US DOL fact sheet at: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15a.pdf.
 
If you believe your employer is in violation of the federal law, you may contact the US DOL at 1-866-487-2365.

 

 
 
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)l 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.

 

 
 
Q. If I am a union member and 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.

 

 
 
Q. My employer hasn’t paid me. What can I do?
A. If you have not been paid wages owed to you, you may choose one of three options:
  1. File a wage claim with the Wage and Hour Division;
  2. File a claim in the small claims court in the county in which the employer is located (if the amount is $10,000 or less);
  3. Consult an attorney about taking legal action.
If you have been terminated and initiate an action with a private attorney or in small claims court, you may also pursue penalty wages in addition to your unpaid wages. The Wage and Hour Division will generally settle your claim for the amount of wages due only.

 

 
 
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: (800) 829-1040.

 

 

 
 
Minors - Child Labor Questions

Q. At what age may a minor begin work?
A. Generally, in non-agricultural employment, minors may begin working at age 14. There are some exceptions for minors under 14.

 

 
 
Q. What types of occupations are prohibited for minors?
A. See the “Employment of Minors” brochure on the “Child Labor” website.

 

 
 
Q. What hours of work are permitted for minors?
A. See the “Employment of Minors” brochure on the “Child Labor” website.

 

 
 
Q. Are minors required to obtain a work permit before working?
A. 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 “Employment of Minors” Brochure on the “Child Labor” website for more information.)