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Restaurants: State/Federal Laws
State and federal labor laws pose some different requirements for employers. Where state and federal laws address the same issue, the stricter standard applies. The following is a summary of some of the provisions of state and federal regulations pertaining to employment in restaurants and fast food establishments. For more detailed information, contact the US Department of Labor ("USDOL"), Wage and Hour Division, at (503) 326-3057 or the Bureau of Labor and Industries ("BOLI"), Wage and Hour Division, at (971) 673-0761.

The minimum wage and time and one-half overtime for hours over forty in a work week is required to be paid to all employees except those employed in a bone fide executive, administrative or professional capacity or as an outside salesperson.
An employee will qualify for exemption if all pertinent tests related to duties, responsibilities and salary are met.
State law prohibits using tips to calculate the amount of Oregon´s 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.

Employers who hire minors 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 and must obtain an employment certificate from BOLI prior to employing minors. Applications for annual employment certificates are available at all BOLI offices.
The employer must maintain a record of the birth date for employees under 19 years of age.
Employees must be 14 to work in a restaurant or fast food establishment unless it is owned exclusively by the minor´s parents or grosses less than $500,000 annually. There are no restrictions for employees 18 or over. The restrictions fall into two categories: those covering minors who are under 16 and those covering minors who are 16-17 years of age.
Youths under 16 may work outside of school hours in various non-hazardous jobs only under the following conditions: no more than three hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, eight hours on a non-school day, or 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 are extended to 9:00 p.m.
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.
Youths 16 and 17 years old may perform any non-hazardous job for up to 44 hours per week without an emergency overtime permit issued by BOLI. Examples of equipment declared hazardous in restaurants include 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 generally are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle for pick up or delivery duties.

Meal periods of 30 minutes must be provided to adults (over age 18) if the workday is six hours or longer. The employee must be relieved of all duty during this time. If the employee can´t be relieved due to the nature or circumstances of the work, then the meal period must be paid. For minors under age 18, meal periods of at least 30 minutes must be provided no later than five hours and one minute after the minor reports to work. Minors under 16 must be fully relieved of work duties during this time. Sixteen and 17 year-old employees may work during a meal period, but must be paid for their time.
Paid rest periods of at least 10 minutes must be provided to adult employees during each four-hour work period or major part thereof. The rest period is to be taken approximately in the middle of each work segment. There are narrow exemptions to the rest period requirements for adult employees working alone in retail/service businesses.
Paid rest periods of at least 15 minutes must be provided to minor employees during each four hour period (or major portion) of work time.
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.
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.

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.

This information sheet is meant to provide a summary reference guide to some of the labor laws pertaining to restaurants and fast food establishments. It is not a complete statement of the laws, but a simplified interpretation.
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.