All Oregon employees have the right to a safe, nondiscriminatory workplace. However, only nonexempt employees have the right to overtime wages and rest breaks. Exempt employees, on the other hand, must be paid a regular salary every week.
Overtime and Breaks
Unless classified as exempt, all employees in Oregon are entitled to overtime and meal periods. Nonexempt employees must be paid time-and-a-half for any hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Employers must pay nonexempt employees overtime for these hours even if the employee wasn't authorized to work overtime. These employees also must be given a 30 minute unpaid meal break if they work more than 6 hours during one shift, and periodic 10 minute paid breaks for every four hours worked. Nonexempt employees usually are paid by the hour, but also can be paid a salary.
Manufacturing employees and minors are limited in how many hours they can work per day. Manufacturing employees may only work 13 hours in a 24 hour window. Employees who are 14 or 15 years old aren't allowed to work more than three hours on a school day or eight hours on a weekend day. All other workers may work an unlimited amount of time in one day.
An employer can also flex an employee's schedule to avoid paying him overtime. For example, an employer can require an employee to work 12 hours on Thursday but only allow him to work 4 hours on Friday. In that scenario, the employer would not have to compensate for any overtime hours.
Exceptions for Exempt Employees
If an employee is classified as exempt, he doesn't have to be paid overtime rates or provided breaks. Under Oregon labor law, only three categories of employees can be classified as exempt: executives, administrative managers and professionals. Along with falling into one of these three categories, employees must have some authority or independent judgement in their work to be exempt. Their weekly salary must also exceed the federal minimum for exempt employees, currently set at $455 a week.
Exempt Employee Salary Rights
Exempt employees don't get overtime or breaks, but they are entitled to certain other rights. Namely, employees are limited in when they can dock an exempt employee's salary. An exempt employee must be paid the same weekly salary whether he works 30 hours or 50 hours during the week. As long as the employee does some work during the day, even an hour's worth, he must be paid. However, an employer can dock an exempt employee's salary if he's gone for a day or more.
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