State Law > Oregon > Oregon Wage Payment Law

Oregon Wage Payment Law

 

The state of Oregon's Wage Payment Law can be found in Title 51, Chapter 652 of the Oregon Revised Statutes .

  • 652.110 Medium of paying employees.
  • 652.120 Establishing regular payday; pay intervals; agreement to pay wages at future date.
  • 652.125 Bond required when failure to make timely wage payment occurs; court to enjoin business of employer failing to provide bond.
  • 652.130 Payment of wages due persons employed on piece work scale or quantity basis in forest product industries; furnishing statement of scale or quantity produced. (Needs to be bolded in the text.)
  • 652.140 Payment on termination of employment; notice of intention to quit; forwarding wages by mail; exception for collective bargaining
  • 652.145 Payment of wages for seasonal farmworkers.
  • 652.150 Termination of employment and employer's willful failure to pay wages or compensation; Penalty for violations.
  • 652.160 Payment in case of dispute over wages.
  • 652.170 Payment of wages in case of strikes.
  • 652.190 Payment of wages to surviving spouse or dependent children.
  • 652.220 Prohibition of discriminatory wage rates based on sex; employer not to discriminate against employee-complainant.
  • 652.240 Paying wage lower than that required by statute or contract prohibited.
  • 652.360 Contract exempting employer from liability or penalty not valid; exceptions.


652.110 Medium of paying employees.

(1) A person engaged in any business or enterprise of any kind in this state may not issue, in payment of or as evidence of indebtedness for wages due an employee, any order, check, memorandum or other instrument of indebtedness unless the instrument is negotiable and is payable without discount in cash on demand at some bank or other established place of business in the county where the employee lives or works and where a sufficient amount of funds have been provided and are or will be available for the payment of the instrument when due. The person shall, upon presentation and demand, pay the instrument in lawful money of the United States. (2) This section does not in any way limit or interfere with the right of any employee to accept from any person, as an evidence or acknowledgment of indebtedness for wages due the employee, a negotiable instrument, payable at some future date with interest. (3) An employer and an employee may agree to authorize the employer to deposit without discount wages due the employee in the employee's account in a financial institution, as defined in ORS 706.008, in this state. (4) An employer and an employee may agree that the employer may pay wages through a direct deposit system, automated teller machine card, payroll card or other means of electronic transfer if the employee may:
(a) Make an initial withdrawal of the entire amount of net pay without cost to the employee; or (b) Choose to use another means of payment of wages that involves no cost to the employee.
(5) An agreement described in subsection (4) of this section must be made in the language that the employer principally uses to communicate with the employee. (6)
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, to revoke an agreement described in subsection (4) of this section, an employee shall give the employer a written notice of revocation of the agreement. Unless the employer and employee agree otherwise, the agreement is revoked 30 days after the date the notice is received by the employer. (b) To revoke an agreement described in subsection (4) of this section, an employee who works for an employer as a seasonal farmworker as defined in ORS 652.145 or an employee who is employed in packing, canning, freezing or drying any variety of agricultural crops shall give the employer notice of revocation of the agreement either orally or in writing. Unless the employer and the employee agree otherwise, the agreement is revoked 10 days after the date the notice is received by the employer.

652.120 Establishing regular payday; pay intervals; agreement to pay wages at future date.

(1) Every employer shall establish and maintain a regular payday, at which date all employees shall be paid the wages due and owing to them.

(2) Payday shall not extend beyond a period of 35 days from the time that such employees entered upon their work, or from the date of the last regular payday.

(3) This section does not prevent the employer from establishing and maintaining paydays at more frequent intervals.

(4) This section does not prevent any employer from entering into a written agreement, prior to the rendering of any services, and mutually satisfactory with the employer’s employees, as to the payment of wages at a future date.

652.125 Bond required when failure to make timely wage payment occurs; court to enjoin business of employer failing to provide bond.

(1) If, upon complaint by an employee, and after investigation, it appears to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries that an employer is failing to pay wages within five days of a payday scheduled by the employer, the commissioner may require the employer to give a bond in such amount as the commissioner determines necessary, with sufficient surety, to assure timely payment of wages due employees for such future period as the commissioner considers appropriate. In lieu of a bond, the commissioner may accept a letter of credit from an issuer approved by the commissioner, upon such terms and conditions and for such amount as the commissioner determines necessary to assure timely payment of wages for such future period as the commissioner determines appropriate.

(2) If, within 10 days after demand for such bond, the employer fails to provide the same, the commissioner may commence court action against the employer in the circuit court of appropriate jurisdiction to compel the employer to furnish such bond or cease doing business until the employer has done so. The employer shall have the burden of proving the amount thereof to be excessive.

(3) If the court finds that there is just cause for requiring such bond and that the same is reasonably necessary or appropriate to secure the prompt payment of the wages of the employees of such employer, the court shall enjoin such employer from doing business in this state until the requirement is met, or shall make other, and may make further, orders appropriate to compel compliance with the requirement.

Note: 652.125 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 652 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

652.130 Payment of wages due persons employed on piece work scale or quantity basis in forest product industries; furnishing statement of scale or quantity produced.

Every person engaged in the business of logging or obtaining or securing sawlogs, poles, spars, piles, cordwood, posts or other timber or forest products, or engaged in the business of manufacturing sawlogs or other timber into lumber, and employing one or more employees on a piece work scale or quantity wage basis, shall furnish such employees at least once monthly, a statement of scale or quantity produced by them to their credit, and shall pay all wages or amounts so earned and due and payable under the law regulating paydays.

652.140 Payment on termination of employment; notice of intention to quit; forwarding wages by mail; exception for collective bargaining

(1) When an employer discharges an employee or when employment is terminated by mutual agreement, all wages earned and unpaid at the time of the discharge or termination become due and payable not later than the end of the first business day after the discharge or termination.

(2)

(a) When an employee who does not have a contract for a definite period quits employment, all wages earned and unpaid at the time of quitting become due and payable immediately if the employee has given to the employer not less than 48 hours' notice, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, of intention to quit employment.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this subsection, if the employee has not given to the employer the notice described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, the wages become due and payable within five days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the employee has quit, or at the next regularly scheduled payday after the employee has quit, whichever event first occurs.

(c) If the employee has not given to the employer the notice described in paragraph (a) of this subsection and if the employee is regularly required to submit time records to the employer to enable the employer to determine the wages due the employee, within five days after the employee has quit the employer shall pay the employee the wages the employer estimates are due and payable. Within five days after the employee has submitted the time records, all wages earned and unpaid become due and payable.

(3) For the purpose of this section, if employment termination occurs on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, all wages earned and unpaid shall be paid no later than the end of the first business day after the employment termination, except that if the employment is related to activities authorized under ORS chapter 565, all wages earned and unpaid shall be paid no later than the end of the second business day after the employment termination.

(4) The employer shall forward such wages by mail to any address designated by the employee if the employee requests the employer so to do. An employer may deposit such wages without discount in the employee's account in a bank, national bank, mutual savings bank, credit union, or savings and loan association in this state, provided the employee and the employer have agreed to such deposit.

(5) This section does not apply to employment for which a collective bargaining agreement otherwise provides for the payment of wages upon termination of employment.

(6) When a termination of employment results from the sale of a business or business property and the purchaser employs or continues the employment of an individual employed at the business, this section does not apply to the payment to such an individual of wages for earned but unused accrued holiday leave, sick leave, vacation leave or other leave benefits payable upon termination of employment pursuant to a collective bargaining or other employment agreement or employer policy, if the following conditions are met:

652.145 Payment of wages for seasonal farmworkers.

Notwithstanding ORS 652.140, if an employee has worked for an employer as a seasonal farmworker, whenever the employment terminates, all wages earned and unpaid become due and payable immediately. However, if the employee quits without giving the employer at least 48 hours’ notice, wages earned and unpaid are due and payable within 48 hours after the employee has quit, or at the next regularly scheduled payday after the employee has quit, whichever event first occurs. As used in this section, "seasonal farmworker" means an individual who, for an agreed remuneration or rate of pay, performs temporary labor for another in the production of farm products or in the planting, cultivating or harvesting of seasonal agricultural crops or in the forestation or reforestation of lands including, but not limited to, the planting, transplanting, tubing, precommercial thinning and thinning of trees and seedlings, the clearing, piling and disposal of brush and slash and other related activities.

652.150 Termination of employment and employer's willful failure to pay wages or compensation; Penalty for violations

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, if an employer willfully fails to pay any wages or compensation of any employee whose employment ceases, as provided in ORS 652.140 and 652.145, then, as a penalty for the nonpayment, the wages or compensation of the employee shall continue from the due date thereof at the same hourly rate for eight hours per day until paid or until action therefor is commenced. However:

(a) In no case shall the penalty wages or compensation continue for more than 30 days from the due date; and

(b) A penalty may not be assessed under this section when an employer pays an employee the wages the employer estimates are due and payable under ORS 652.140 (2)(c) and the estimated amount of wages paid is less than the actual amount of earned and unpaid wages, as long as the employer pays the employee all wages earned and unpaid within five days after the employee submits the time records.

(2) If the employee or a person on behalf of the employee sends a written notice of nonpayment, the penalty may not exceed 100 percent of the employee's unpaid wages or compensation unless the employer fails to pay the full amount of the employee's unpaid wages or compensation within 12 days after receiving the written notice. If the employee or a person on behalf of the employee fails to send the written notice, the penalty may not exceed 100 percent of the employee's unpaid wages or compensation. For purposes of determining when an employer has paid wages or compensation under this subsection, payment occurs on the date the employer delivers the payment to the employee or sends the payment by first class mail, express mail or courier service.

(3)

(a) For purposes of this section, a commission owed to an employee by a business that primarily sells motor vehicles or farm implements is not due until all of the terms and conditions of an agreement between the employer and employee concerning the method of payment of commissions are fulfilled. If no such agreement exists, the commission is due with all other earned and unpaid wages or compensation as provided in ORS 652.140.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, when there is a dispute between an employer and an employee concerning the amount of commission due under paragraph (a) of this subsection, if the amount of unpaid commission is found to be less than 20 percent of the amount of unpaid commission claimed by the employee, the penalty may not exceed the amount of the unpaid commission or $200, whichever is greater.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3)(b) of this section do not apply when:

(a) The employer has violated ORS 652.140 or 652.145 one or more times in the year before the employee's employment ceased; or

(b) The employer terminated one or more other employees on the same date that the employee's employment ceased.

(5) The employer may avoid liability for the penalty described in this section by showing financial inability to pay the wages or compensation at the time the wages or compensation accrued.

652.160 Payment in case of dispute over wages.

In case of dispute over wages, the employer must pay, without condition, and within the time set by ORS 652.140, all wages conceded by the employer to be due, leaving the employee all remedies the employee might otherwise have or be entitled to as to any balance the employee might claim.

652.170 Payment of wages in case of strikes.

When any number of employees enter upon a strike, the wages due such striking employees at the time of entering upon such strike shall not become due and payable until the next regular payday after the commencement of such strike, if the time between the commencement of the strike and the next regular payday does not exceed a period of 30 days. If the intervening time does exceed the period of 30 days, then the wages shall be due and payable 30 days after the commencement of the strike .

652.190 Payment of wages to surviving spouse or dependent children.

All wages earned by an employee, not exceeding $10,000, shall, upon the employee’s death, become due and payable to the employee’s surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, the dependent children, or their guardians or the conservators of their estates, in equal shares, to the same extent as if the wages had been earned by such surviving spouse or dependent children. As used in this section, "wages" means compensation of employees based on time worked or output of production and includes every form of remuneration payable for a given period to an individual for personal services.

652.200 Attorney fee in action for wages.

(1) In any action for the collection of any order, check, memorandum or other instrument of indebtedness referred to in ORS 652.110, if it is shown that the order, check, memorandum or other instrument of indebtedness was not paid for a period of 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after presentation and demand for the payment thereof, the court shall, upon entering judgment for the plaintiff, include in the judgment, in addition to the costs and disbursements otherwise prescribed by statute, a reasonable sum for attorney fees at trial and on appeal for prosecuting the action, unless it appears that the employee has willfully violated the contract of employment.

(2) In any action for the collection of wages, if it is shown that the wages were not paid for a period of 48 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the wages became due and payable, the court shall, upon entering judgment for the plaintiff, include in the judgment, in addition to the costs and disbursements otherwise prescribed by statute, a reasonable sum for attorney fees at trial and on appeal for prosecuting the action, unless it appears that the employee has willfully violated the contract of employment or unless the court finds that the plaintiff's attorney unreasonably failed to give written notice of the wage claim to the employer before filing the action.

652.220 Prohibition of discriminatory wage rates based on sex; employer not to discriminate against employee-complainant.

(1) No employer shall:

(a) In any manner discriminate between the sexes in the payment of wages for work of comparable character, the performance of which requires comparable skills.

(b) Pay wages to any employee at a rate less than that at which the employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for work of comparable character, the performance of which requires comparable skills.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply where:

(a) Payment is made pursuant to a seniority or merit system which does not discriminate on the basis of sex.

(b) A differential in wages between employees is based in good faith on factors other than sex.

(3) No employer shall in any manner discriminate in the payment of wages against any employee because the employee has filed a complaint in a proceeding under ORS 652.210 to 652.230, or has testified, or is about to testify, or because the employer believes that the employee may testify, in any investigation or proceedings pursuant to ORS 652.210 to 652.230 or in a criminal action pursuant to ORS 652.210 to 652.230.

652.240 Paying wage lower than that required by statute or contract prohibited.

Where any statute or contract requires an employer to maintain the designated wage scale, it shall be unlawful to secretly pay a lower wage while purporting to pay the wage designated by statute or by contract.

652.360 Contract exempting employer from liability or penalty not valid; exceptions.

(1) An employer may not by special contract or any other means exempt the employer from any provision of or liability or penalty imposed by ORS 652.310 to 652.414 or any statute relating to the payment of wages, except insofar as the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries in writing approves a special contract or other arrangement between the employer and one or more of the employer’s employees. The commissioner may not give approval unless the commissioner finds that such contract or arrangement will not prejudicially affect the interest of the public or of the employees involved, and the commissioner may at any time retract such approval, first giving the employer not less than 30 days’ notice in writing.

(2) A settlement between an employer and an employee of a known and identified claim arising under ORS 652.310 to 652.414 or any statute relating to the payment of wages does not require the commissioner’s approval if the settlement does not provide for the employee to relinquish a claim for additional or future violations.

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