Oregon Tightens Pay Statement Requirements to Help Deter Wage Theft

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 11, 2016

A new Oregon law will require an employer to include some additional information on employees' pay statements than is currently required, starting January 1, 2017. The new law aims to deter wage theft by codifying and tightening up the pay statement requirements that were previously found only in the Oregon Administrative Rules. According to a Staff Measure Summary that accompanies the legislation, three new full-time positions will be funded in the state Wage and Hour Division to investigate and enforce claims of underpaid and unpaid wages.

The new law requires an employer to generally provide paper pay statements to employees in writing. However, an employer may also provide them electronically, if an employee consents and has the capacity to print out and store them every payday.

All pay statements must contain the following information:

  • Payment date;
  • Dates of work covered by the payment;
  • Employee's name;
  • Employer's name and business registry or business identification number;
  • Employer's address and telephone number;
  • Employee's pay rate(s);
  • Employee's payment method (i.e., by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece rate or commission);
  • Employee's gross and net wages;
  • Amount and purpose of each deduction made during the pay period;
  • Any allowances the employer claims as part of the minimum wage;
  • For nonexempt employees:
    • The regular hourly and or overtime pay rate(s);
    • The number of regular hours worked and the amount of pay for those hours; and
    • The number of overtime hours worked and the amount of pay for those hours; and
  • For piece rate employees:
    • The applicable piece rate(s) of pay;
    • The number of pieces completed at each piece rate; and
    • The total pay for each rate.

In addition, if an employee requests to see his or her time and pay records, an employer must honor the request within 45 days. An employer will also be required to retain payroll records for terminated employees for the period of time required by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The new law also prohibits a contractor or subcontractor that works on a public contract from intentionally failing to pay an employee at the prevailing wage rate and from:

  • Reducing an employee's pay rate for work performed on projects not subject to the prevailing wage rules, in order to recoup the prevailing wages paid;
  • Withholding, deducting or diverting any part of an employee's wages that are not legally required to be deducted (i.e., withholding for taxes) or employee-authorized;
  • Entering into an agreement with an employee to work at a rate lower than the prevailing wage rate; or
  • Otherwise underpaying an employee by 25% or $1,000, whichever is greater, in a single pay period.

A contractor or subcontractor that violates these provisions will be guilty of a felony, and may be subject to jail time and/or hefty fines.