Oregon Labor & Employment Laws

Oregon labor laws are designed to provide protections for employees. Oregon laws provide you with breaks and meal periods so that you can have time to rest and time to eat. If you get sick, or someone in your house falls ill, Oregon labor laws protect your job while you tend to yourself or your family long term or short term. 

What Are My Rights as an Employee in Oregon?

In Oregon, employees have many rights protected by federal law and state law. 

Oregon Employment Law for Sick Leave

Oregon state law provides every worker with sick leave. All employees are given one hour of protected sick leave for every 30 hours worked, no more than 40 hours per year. Your employer can opt to give you 40 hours of sick leave at the start of each year to frontload this requirement. 

This sick leave can be used for things like:

  • When you fall ill
  • When a family member is sick
  • When you need to visit your doctor
  • When you or a family member are injured
  • When you have mental illnesses and need time off

If you work in a company with more than 10 employees, or more than six in the city of Portland, your sick leave is paid. If you work in a smaller company, you still get the same legal protections for sick days, but you won’t be paid for them. 

You are eligible for sick leave once you have worked with the same company for 90 days. It is the responsibility of your employer to inform you periodically how much sick leave you have on the books.

Medical Leave and Family Leave

Oregon labor laws provide other forms of leave as well. The state has many laws in place that protect the rights of workers to care for themselves and their families. Anyone who works for a company with 25 or more employees potentially qualifies for what is called Oregon Family Leave. 

Oregon Family Leave is protected but unpaid if you do not have any other form of vacation time or sick leave. You are allowed to take up to 12 weeks off each year for any of the following reasons:

  • Your need to take time off for the foster placement of a child, adoption of a child or birth of a child. This is called parental leave and any parent can use it. 
  • You can take time off for a health condition that you, your spouse or parent, in-laws or children have.
  • Pregnancy disability leave is another form of family leave you can take before or after the birth of a child. This can be used in conjunction with 12 more weeks for any of the other reasons listed. 
  • Sick child leave gives you time to care for a child who is injured or ill. It can also be used if a childcare provider closes down due to public health emergencies, or if schools close down for the same.
  • Oregon also has military family leave which you can use if your service member spouse has been called to active duty.
  • Should someone pass away, you can take bereavement leave.

Note: To qualify for these types of leave you must a) work in a company with 25 employees or more, b) have worked a minimum of 25 hours weekly for the previous six months and c) your employer must give you the same health insurance benefits you had while working and hold your job for you. 

Discrimination

Oregon employment laws prohibit discrimination of any kind. This means no employer is allowed to treat you differently because of your disability, race, sex, age or any other protected characteristic. This discrimination applies to the hiring process, work environment or firing process. 

Domestic Violence

Oregon prides itself on protecting employees. Employers must make reasonable changes to keep employees safe who are victims of domestic violence. 

Oregon Labor Laws and Workplace Safety

You have a legal right to a safe and healthy workplace. In Oregon, employers must, for example, provide personal protective equipment for employees who are logging, working in fisheries or working near loud machinery. 

The federal government and OSHA mandate certain workplace health and safety requirements that employers must follow, which must be posted in the workplace. These have to do with safety standards, minimum wage, breaks and so forth. 

Oregon Employee Laws: Hiring and Firing

You are protected from discrimination when applying to a job, working at a job or being fired from a job. Federal law and state law prohibit certain questions from being asked during an interview, or any discrimination based on age, gender or race. 

Oregon Pay and Compensation Laws

Minimum Wage

The basic minimum wage in Oregon is $12.75. It is set to increase on a scheduled basis for the next year. This minimum wage applies to any hours worked up to 40 hours in a given work week. Beyond that, overtime pay applies. 

Breaks and Meal Times

For every eight-hour shift you work in Oregon, you get breaks and meal times as follows:

  • Two 10-minute paid breaks
  • One 30-minute unpaid meal break

Employers can choose to offer more break times. For those who work more or less than eight hours, the rest breaks and meal breaks are as follows:

  • Two to six hours: one rest break
  • Six hours: one rest break and one meal break
  • Six to 10 hours: two rest breaks and one meal break
  • Ten to 14 hours: three rest breaks and one meal break
  • Fourteen hours: three rest breaks and two meal breaks
  • Fourteen to 18 hours: four rest breaks and two meal breaks
  • Eighteen to 22 hours: five rest breaks and two meal breaks
  • Twenty-two hours: five rest breaks and three meal breaks
  • Twenty-two to 24 hours: six rest breaks and three meal breaks

How Does Overtime Work in Oregon?

For those who work more than 40 hours per week, Oregon law requires compensation for overtime pay at 1.5 times your regular rate of pay. 

Employers must provide paychecks on a regular basis and they cannot come more than 35 days apart from one another. They cannot withhold or delay giving your paycheck as a means of discipline. If you are fired, you quit or you are laid off, the final wages must be given by the next pay period. 

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