Another Wrinkle Was Added to Oregon's Minimum Wage Law

Date: May 17, 2016 Last Edit: May 18, 2016

A new rule might cause small businesses to lose time and money.

Another Wrinkle Was Added to Oregon’s Minimum Wage Law

Minimum wage advocates got
their raise. Now they’re looking for more.

With the first wage bump set
for July 1, labor advocates are now seeking changes to the new minimum wage
that would make it even more expensive for Oregon business owners.

The Oregon Legislature
approved the new statewide minimum wage based on a three-tier system. In rural
areas, the minimum wage will rise to $12.50 by 2022, $13.50 in mid-size
counties and $14.75 in the Portland metro area.

During the legislative
process, it was established that employees who work in multiple areas that have
different minimum wages would be paid at the rate of their main work location,
according to NFIB/Oregon State Director Anthony Smith. But the Bureau of Labor
and Industries released preliminary rules that would require employers to pay employees
at the rate of the other location if the worker spends more than four hours
there.

Take a delivery driver who
works at a pizza place just outside the Portland Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) as
an example. In 2022, the minimum wage would be $13.50 if the driver worked in
or around the restaurant. But if the driver were to spend more than four hours
delivering pizzas inside the UGB, the employer must start paying the driver
Portland’s $14.75 an hour minimum wage for time worked within the Portland region.
This measure would be costly and inefficient for business owners, Smith said.

“The bill was passed to pay
people more, not make a paperwork nightmare for businesses,” Smith said.

Other preliminary rules from
the Bureau of Labor and Industries also harm small business owners, Smith said.
They include mandating that businesses track and report multiple wages on
employees’ pay stubs and require paperwork documenting a worker’s location
unless a business pays the worker at the highest minimum wage rate.

The measures might also give
pause to some legislators who voted for the increase but who were cautious
about its consequences for small business, Smith said.

“They might not have voted
for the bill if they knew this was going to happen,” Smith said.

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