Oregon minimum wage bill approved

The Oregon House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1532 on February 18 to increase the state minimum wage. Oregon Governor Kate Brown promises to sign the measure. The bill would raise the minimum wage for all workers to the highest in the nation.

The minimum wage bill calls for gradual increases over six years, with increases based on geographical boundaries—to reach $13.50 per hour statewide by July 1, 2022, $14.75 in the metro Portland area, and $12.50 in rural areas. Beginning in 2023, the minimum wage would then be determined based on inflation, with the larger cities being $1.25 more than the state minimum wage and the rural areas being $1 less. Currently, the minimum wage in Oregon is $9.25 per hour.

Governor Brown released the following statement in response to passage of the measure:

“Today’s action advances one of my priorities for 2016: raise the minimum wage,” said Governor Brown. “I started this conversation last fall, bringing stakeholders together to craft a workable proposal; one that gives working families the much-needed wage boost they need, and addresses challenges for businesses and rural economies presented by the two impending ballot measures. I look forward to signing this bill.”

Specifically, the minimum wage bill calls for the minimum wage to increase statewide to $9.75 effective July 1, 2016; $10.25 on July 1, 2017; $10.75 on July 1, 2018; $11.25 on July 1, 2019; $12 on July 1, 2020; $12.75 on July 1, 2021; and $13.50 on July 1, 2022. After June 30, 2023, and beginning July 1 of each year, the minimum wage rate is to be adjusted annually for inflation.

If the employer is located within the Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary (within the boundaries of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties) organized under Chapter 268, the minimum wage increase would also start at $9.75 on July 1, 2016, and would then increase as follows: $11.25 on July 1, 2017; $12 on July 1, 2018; $12.50 on July 1, 2019; $13.25 on July 1, 2020; $14 on July 1, 2021; and $14.75 on July 1, 2022. After June 30, 2023, the minimum wage is to be $1.25 more than the statewide minimum wage determined above, based on the rate of inflation.

If the employer is located in a nonurban county, namely, Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa or Wheeler county, the minimum wage is to increase as follows: $9.50 on July 1, 2016; $10 on July 1, 2017; $10.50 on July 1, 2018; $11 on July 1, 2019; $11.50 on July 1, 2020; $12 on July 1, 2021; and $12.50 on July 1, 2022. After June 30, 2023, the minimum wage is to be $1 less than the state minimum wage, as determined by inflation.

According to the Associated Press, the bill was crafted as a compromise between what unions, businesses and farmers want and as an attempt to thwart proposals that could go before the voters in November. Those two proposals call for a statewide minimum wage of $13.50 (Initiatives 57 through 59) or $15 (Initiative 41), phased in over time. (State of Oregon, Office of the Governor, News Release, February 18, 2016, http://www.oregon.gov/newsroom/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?newsid=1006; S.B. 1532, https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2016R1/Downloads/MeasureDocument/SB1532.)

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.