July 11, 2020 — On July 1, Oregon’s minimum wage increased by .50 cents as part of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s three-tiered system established in March 2016.
In “standard” counties, including Lane, minimum wage is now $12. Portland metro areas have reached $13.25 per hour, and “non-urban” counties are now $11.50 per hour.
In January 2016, Brown stated, “The costs of essentials such as food, childcare and rent are rising so fast that wages can’t keep up. Many Oregonians working full-time can’t make ends meet — and that’s not right.”
The system was devised after the governor met with businesses, working families and the legislature about the rising cost of living. This led to the passage of SB 1532.
Under this bill, the counties of Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk, Tillamook, Wasco, Yamhill and parts of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County are considered “standard” counties. Non-urban counties are Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler.
Between 2016 and 2022, standard counties will see an increase from $9.75 to $13.50; non-urban counties will see an increase from $9.50 to $12.50 and Portland metro areas will see an increase from $9.75 to $14.75.
“We have taken a very smart approach by implementing the raise in a way that makes sense for workers and for businesses, no matter where in Oregon they are,” Brown said.
According to Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), Oregon workers must make minimum wage, with that wage depending on work location. Workers should be paid the wage for the county where they work 50 percent or more of their hours each week.
To determine which minimum wage applies, employers should go to www.oregon.gov/boli/workers/Pages/minimum-wage.aspx.
Oregon RAIN (Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network) answered some questions concerning the new minimum wage on its Facebook page.
On the post, RAIN Coastal Venture Catalyst Ariel Ruben pointed out that the current federal minimum wage remains $7.25 per hour.
“When federal and state employment laws conflict, employers must apply whichever standard is most beneficial to the employee. Therefore, Oregon employers must pay the higher state minimum wage,” Ruben said.
Oregon workers also must receive minimum wage during all stages of employment, including during on-the-job training and as minors.
BOLI has released new posters on minimum wage for 2020, which are available in both English and Spanish at www.oregon.gov/boli/employers/Documents/BOLI_MinWage.pdf and www.oregon.gov/boli/employers/Documents/BOLI_MinWage_Espanol.pdf.
The creation of the governor’s minimum wage law was one of her top priorities in 2016 — “one that gives working families the much-needed wage boost they need, and addresses challenges for businesses and rural economies,” she said.
As she signed the bill into law, Brown stated, “SB 1532 is a path forward: so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase. That’s the Oregon Way.”