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Final Paychecks



Many employers and employees think that your final paycheck is due at your next regular pay period. In some states, that is correct, but Oregon has a tricky law for employers. You see, if you give your employer at least 48-hours of notice before you quit, then you must be paid everything they owe you (as to wages) on your last day. Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) §652.140. A similar rule applies if your employer fires you or lays you off, in that they have to pay you no later than the end of the next business day.


In Oregon, this also means payment of any benefits such as paid vacation time the company owes you. Normally being paid out on vacation time (aka paid time off) comes down to if the company has a policy of paying out those hours or not, but if they do, then it has to be part of the final paycheck.


The penalty for overlooking this rule can be quite steep. Your now former employer has to pay you a full eight-hour work day for each day the final pay is delayed. ORS §652.150. This even includes weekends when you may not have otherwise worked. Now there are a few exceptions and caveats, but that is the general principle.


For a quick example, if you make $20 per hour and it takes them a week (7 days), then the penalty wage totals $1,120. Maybe not enough to retire on, but certainly worth the effort to recover.


Also, the employer would be responsible for paying your attorney’s fees to recover this penalty, meaning that hiring Stevens & Legal will pay for itself. ORS §652.200(2). And if they refuse to pay for an extended period, arguably statutory interest at a 9% annual rate would apply, which is a much better rate than you can get at the bank.





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