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Oregon Minimum Wage Increases to $8.50 for 2011

Posted by Tamara

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian recently announced the Oregon minimum wage will increase 10 cents per hour from $8.40 per hour to $8.50 per hour on January 1, 2011. The increase is based on a 1.15% increase in the Consumer Price Index for the year ending September 1, 2010.

The new rate of $8.50 per hours applies to tipped employees, too, because Oregon does not have a tipped minimum wage. Tipped employees are entitled to the full state minimum wage.

According to Commissioner Avakian, “This modest increase is the result of a slowly but steadily rising cost of living facing Oregon workers. By helping workers and their families preserve their purchasing power in difficult times; our strong minimum wage law also benefits our local economies, where workers spend most of their paychecks.”

State Senator Diane Rosenbaum concurred, adding that “every cent counts in this economy” for minimum wage workers.

The increase in the Oregon minimum wage is the first raise since January 1, 2009, and puts Oregon in second place for highest minimum wage. Their neighbor, Washington, holds first place with a minimum wage of $8.55, which will increase to $8.67 in 2011.

Oregon state minimum wage and employment posters must be updated by all employers to reflect the change.

Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 25 in 2002, requiring the Labor Commissioner to annually adjust the minimum wage based on the rate of inflation. BOLI (the state Bureau of Labor and Industry) offers conference on employment law to discuss the minimum wage and the latest developments. The most recent conference was held on December 1-2, 2010. More details here.

Employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime, minimum wage, unemployment and benefits will be subjected to rigorous enforcement by the state of Oregon. To understand how to correctly classify workers, employers can attend one of a number of seminars in 2011, sponsored by BOLI. Online webinars are also available.

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