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The following information summarizes some of the provisions of state and federal regulations pertaining to employment in restaurants and fast food establishments. Employers are responsible for compliance with both state and federal employment laws. Where state and federal laws address the same issue, the stricter standard applies. For more detailed information on federal laws, contact the US Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division ("USDOL") at (503) 326-3057.

Minimum wage / overtime requirements  

Employers must pay the applicable minimum wage​ to all employees unless an employee is specifically exempted by law. Likewise, overtime must be paid at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a given workweek. Examples of exempt employees include those employed in a bone fide executive, administrative or professional capacity on a salary basis. Such employees qualify for exemption from minimum wage and overtime requirements only if all pertinent tests related to the employee’s duties, responsibilities and salary are met. See our factsheet on salaried exempt employees for details.
Oregon law prohibits using tips to meet the obligation to pay employees at least the applicable minimum wage. This means that all employers in Oregon must pay the full amount of minimum wage without benefit of a tip credit. All tips must remain the property of the employee except to the extent that there is a valid pooling arrangement. 

Oregon law does not regulate valid tip pooling arrangements, but federal law does.

Working Conditions

Meal periods of not less than 30 minutes must be provided to non-exempt employees who work six or more hours in a 
work period.  Ordinarily, employees are required to be relieved of all duties during the meal period.  Under exceptional circumstances, the law allows an adult employee to perform duties during a meal period.  When that happens, the employer must pay the employee for the entire meal period. 

Under wage and hour law, a tipped food and beverage server may voluntarily waive the meal period under the following conditions: 
  • The employee is at least 18 years of age and is employed to serve food or beverages, and receives and reports tips to the employer.
  • The employee voluntarily requests to waive the meal period. (For newly hired employees, the request to waive the meal period may not be made until the employee has worked for the employer at least seven days.)
  • The request to waive the meal period is in writing on a form prescribed by BOLI. Available online at www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/Meal_Waivers.shtml​.
  • The employer retains a copy of the meal waiver for six months after the employee separates from employment. 
  • The employee has an opportunity to consume food during shifts of six hours or longer.
  • The employee is paid for any meal period in which the employee is not relieved of all duty.
  • When the employee works longer than eight hours, the employee must be given a meal period in which the employee is relieved of all duty.
  • The employer keeps records clearly showing whether or not the employee has received the meal period.
  • The employer conspicuously posts a notice provided by BOLI regarding rest and meal periods.  The notice is also available at www.oregon.gov/BOLI/WHD/Meal_Waivers.shtml.
An exemption to the meal period requirement is also available to employers who are able to show that providing a 30-minute, unpaid meal period would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Prior to claiming the exemption, an employer must give notice to each affected employee on a form prescribed by BOLI. The form (WH-161) is available online. Affected employees must still receive adequate paid time to consume a meal, rest and use the restroom in addition to all other rest periods required by law for the number of hours worked.

Paid rest periods of not less than 10 minutes (15 for minors) must be provided for every segment of four hours worked or major part thereof (two hours and one minute through four hours). This time must be taken in addition to and separately from required meal periods. The rest period should be taken as nearly as possible in the middle of the work segment. It is prohibited for an employer to allow employees to add the rest period to a meal period or to deduct rest periods from the beginning or end of the employee’s work shift.  
An employer is not required to provide a rest period to an employee when all of the following conditions are met: 
  • The employee is 18 years of age or older;
  • The employee works less than five hours in any period of 16 continuous hours;
  • The employee is working alone;
  • The employee is employed in a retail or service establishment; and
  • The employee is allowed to leave the employee’s assigned station when the employee needs to use restroom facilities.
See our factsheet on Meal and Rest Period Rules for additional details.  


Oregon law requires work scheduling standards for certain employers in retail, hospitality, or food services industries that have at least 500 employees worldwide. See our factsheet on predictive scheduling requirements online.

Adequate work must be provided to minor employees if the employer requires the minor to report to work. Adequate work means enough work (or compensation in lieu of work) to earn at least one-half of the scheduled day´s earnings or one hour of work at the minor's regular rate of pay, whichever is greater. 

Child labor provisions / restrictions

Many employees begin their working careers with a job in food service. Oregon does not require minors to obtain work permits but employers must obtain an annual employment certificate prior to employing any minor. Applications for annual employment certificates are available online

Child labor laws restrict the hours of work and permitted activities of minor employees (those under age 18) based on age. For this reason, employers must verify the age of each minor hired from an appropriate proof of age document such as a driver´s license, passport or birth certificate. In addition, employers must maintain a record of the date of birth for all employees under 19 years of age. 

There are no restrictions on the duties or hours of work for employees 18 or over.

Oregon law prohibits minors 16 and 17 years old from performing any job declared hazardous by child labor laws. Examples of prohibited work declared hazardous in restaurants include operating power-driven meat processing machines (meat slicers, grinders, saws, patty forming chopping machines, etc.) and certain power-driven bakery machines, including dough mixers. Employees under 18 are not permitted to operate, feed, set-up, adjust, repair or clean such machines. Minors under 18 are generally not allowed to operate a motor vehicle for pick up or delivery duties. 

Unless an employer obtains an emergency overtime permit from BOLI, minors 16 and 17 years of age are limited to working no more than 44 hours per week.

Minors who are 14 and 15 years old are limited to working outside of school hours and only in certain permitted, non-hazardous jobs. Permitted occupations for employees under age 16 include those such as cashier, office/clerical work, bagging orders, cleanup work, hand cleaning vegetables, etc. Cooking and baking cannot generally be performed by minors under the age of 16. 

Child labor law also limits the hours of work for minors 14 and 15 years old to no more than three hours on a school day and 18 hours in a school week or eight hours on a non-school day and 40 hours in a non-school week. Work may not begin before 7:00 a.m. or end after 7:00 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when the evening hours may be extended to 9:00 p.m. 

Employees must be at least 14 to work in a restaurant or fast food establishment unless it is owned exclusively by the minor´s parent.   

Typical problems

The most serious child labor violations commonly found in restaurants are in regard to minors under 18 operating, feeding, disassembling or cleaning meat slicers and dough mixers or driving.

The most common child labor violation is 14 and 15 year old minors working outside of the hours and time restrictions. 

Employees working at more than one establishment operated by the employer are due the overtime on the aggregate of the hours.

Training time, meeting time, preparation time, opening and closing time and set-up time are all hours of work and need to be recorded and paid. 

July 2019

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.  We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current.  We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.