Oregon’s new minimum wage law which phases in wage increases over a six-year period starts today, July 1, 2016. The minimum wage for medium and high density counties – listed below – rises to $9.75. The minimum wage for low density counties rises to $9.50. Eventually, the law will require employers located in the Portland metro-area to pay a minimum wage $2.25 an hour higher than the minimum wage for the state’s lowest density counties. This tiered approach requires minimum wage employers with operations in multiple counties to pay close attention.

The new law imposes the minimum wage based on the “employer’s location.” The Commissioner of Labor has adopted rules addressing how to pay employees in multiple locations, or those who travel. The take away from the new regulations are:

  • An employee who travels and works more than 50% of her hours in a pay period at the employer’s “permanent fixed business location” can be paid the rate for that location.
  • An employee who works 50% or less of her hours in a pay period at the employer’s “permanent fixed business location” is paid either (1) the highest applicable rate for all her hours, or (2) the employer can chose to maintain records of the hours and locations worked, and pay according to location for each hour.
  • An employee who makes deliveries throughout the day and starts and ends at a central location is paid the rate at that central location for all hours worked, even if more than 50% of the employee’s time is spent in locations with a different rate.

Here is the break out of the three-tier structure:

High density counties: The portions of Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties located inside Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary.

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

$9.75

July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

$11.25

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

$12.00

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

$12.50

July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

$13.25

July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

$14.00

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

$14.75

Medium density counties: Benton; Clatsop; Columbia; Deschutes; Hood River; Jackson; Josephine; Lane; Lincoln; Linn; Marion; Polk; Tillamook; Wasco; Yamhill, and the portions of Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties located outside of Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary.

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

$9.75

July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

$10.25

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

$10.75

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

$11.25

July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

$12.00

July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

$12.75

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

$13.50

Low density counties: Baker; Coos; Crook; Curry; Douglas; Gilliam; Grant; Harney; Jefferson; Klamath; Lake; Malheur; Morrow; Sherman; Umatilla; Union; Wallowa; Wheeler.

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

$9.50

July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

$10.00

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

$10.50

July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

$11.00

July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

$11.50

July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

$12.00

July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

$12.50