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Oregon Gov. Signs Bill Raising Minimum Wage to as High as $14.50

March 2, 2016

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on March 2 signed into law a minimum-wage bill creating a unique tiered wage system in the state, boosting the hourly minimum to as high as $14.50 in the Portland area.

The median hourly wage for nursing assistants in Oregon was $13.53 in 2014, PHI data shows, while personal care aides (PCAs) and home health aides earned $10.76 and $10.82, respectively.

However, in order for home care workers to benefit from this increase in the state minimum wage, a decades-old exemption (pdf) to Oregon’s minimum wage law would need to be modified.

Oregon labor law currently excludes home care workers from its minimum wage. The exemption is based on a provision in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that excluded home care workers from the federal minimum wage, a fact sheet (pdf) from the National Employment Law Center says.

But that federal exemption has since been narrowed, and most home care workers are now protected by federal minimum wage and overtime laws.

Higher Wages Throughout the State

Currently, Oregon’s minimum wage is $9.25, already among the highest in the country, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures.

Starting this year, the new law (pdf) will gradually introduce higher minimum wages each July 1. Large urban areas such as Portland will see an increase to $14.50 by 2022, while smaller cities such as Salem will have a minimum wage of $13.50 by that year.

The rest of the state will reach a minimum wage of $12.50 by 2022.

— by Matthew Ozga

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