Oregon Minimum Wage-earners + $0.30 on Jan. 1

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Dishing It Out is the PRWA’s blog covering local topics within the restaurant worker community. Our city, our industry, our stories. Email story leads to dishingitout@pdxrwa.org.

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From Portland Restaurant Worker’s Association. Sept. 18:

Minimum Wage

As of January 1st, 2012, the Oregon minimum wage is $8.80 per hour.  State law requires the minimum wage to be adjusted annually based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Oregon law requires employers to pay at least the minimum wage during all stages of employment, including any on-the-job training. Employers in Oregon may not use any amount of an employee’s tips as a credit against the minimum wage.

If an employer fails to pay the full minimum wage for all hours worked in any given workweek (for example, by failing to pay for some of the hours worked, or by deducting amounts from the wages paid), then the employer must pay the employee an Oregon penalty and a Federal penalty. The Federal penalty is equal to the amount of unpaid minimum wages (sometimes referred to as “double for your trouble”). The Oregon penalty is up to 30 days’ wages (8 hours per day x 30 days x the employee’s wage rate).

This information and more is available by visiting these websites: BOLI and ORS 653.025

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Intersting comment, worth reposting:

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All workers are NOT getting an increse! Only minimum wage earners.

It is hard to come by negative comments regarding the minimum wage increase. However, when only the lowest paid worker’s wages increase so significantly and no one else’s wages do… it can be detrimental to everyone else who doesn’t qualify. The minimum wage will be increased in Oregon by $0.30 in 2012, but no one making more than that will benefit… in fact, they will be at a dissadvantage. Because of it, everyone making more than the bare minimum will ultimately be getting a decrease in wage compared to the required minimum (and the higher cost of living resulting from it) because their employers are not required to give them an increase as well.

I have employees that rightfully deserve a wage/salary increase due to their great performance, however, they will go unrewarded for their achievement because I will not be able to offer the promotions, bonuses, and wage increases in 2012 that I could have if it wasn’t for the hike in the lowest genra of wage earners at my place of business. Furthermore, those who were making more than minimum wage will be left feeling unappreciated and unrewarded for their dedication and skill which could decrease their job performace and ultimately cause them to quit since they now will not be getting the raise or benefits they expected. Think about how much you’re making right now and then think about how much you’re making after each minimum wage increase… Your salary keeps declining as the new hires and unqualified worker’s wages increase (although they often times get tips and you don’t), as also increases the price of your expenses… but your salary isn’t able to increase anymore like it would otherwise because of the cost of the bottom wage earners who would have been satisfied with an increase in their wage based on merit and their individual job performance, and happier with more hours with the same wage rather than less hours making a higher amount per hour resulting in less money at the end of the week.

It would only be fair if EVERYONE’S wage was required to increase the same amount as a minimum wage earner’s does, however, it is obvious that businesses cannot afford such an expense unless they increase the cost of their goods and services to the consumer so much more than they already have to. I empathise with minimum wage earners wanting an increase in wage, however, and increase in wage will sometimes amount in a decrease of the hours they’re scheduled to work per week anyway (just like it has in the past at my business unfortunately) and an increase in the price of goods and services they buy.

Luckily, everyone working for me at the minimum wage level lives with a household of atleast 3 or more other adults, etc. who contribute to the household income and get thousands of dollars in Government tax credits each year for each of their MANY children since they are low wage earners! Where does it end? I have a payroll cap which means there are less people I can hire and less of an hourly wage I can offer to employees who make make more than minimum…. and the loss in profit, as well as the loss of quality employees whose wages don’t seem to justify their ability compared to the minimum wage anymore… unfortunately results in a decrease in benefits and hours we offer to our staff, and a higher turn-over rate. Now that this minimum wage increase will be in place, the maximum vacation days we offer our employees I just learned is being decreased from 12 to 8, and no more sick pay for days taken off when long term employees are ill like there used to be. No more overtime pay hours can be offered either unless absolutely unavoidable…. as well as longer hours salaried employees are required to work (who don’t qualify for time and a half pay) My payroll budget can’t increase enough to justify the minimum waye now whithout making significant cuts in other areas. If this pattern continues we could very well be out of business, and all of us out of a job in the near future!

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