Oregon’s new minimum wage law does more than help workers get by—its novel design sets a national precedent.
Earlier this month, Governor Kate Brown signed legislation that would increase the state’s current minimum wage of $9.25 per hour by a set amount every year until 2022. The measures also provide for an annual adjustment after that point to keep pace with inflation.
The law is unique in that it implements a tiered system that sets separate minimums for different parts of the state. By 2022, the minimum hourly wage will be $14.75 in the Portland metro area, $13.50 in midsize counties, and $12.50 in rural areas. See a map of the different wages across the state on the Oregon Wage and Hour Division website.
In a statement, President Obama praised the news and called on Congress to act on the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour.
Oregon employers should note that increases will begin on July 1. For counties categorized as urban or midsized, that means a new $9.75 minimum effective this summer. For rural employers, $9.50. The Bureau of Labor and Industries is expected to provide an updated version of its mandatory minimum wage poster in the coming weeks.