The Employer’s 2024 Guide to Hiring Employees in Oregon

Nicole Rothstein

Do you have a business in Oregon that is accumulating accomplishments and mounting responsibilities? It sounds like you may be ready to grow your team. While this probably feels like a very exciting time, we know how overwhelming it can be to take on the task of hiring. As an employer, there are many things you’re expected to know when it comes to rules, processes, and paperwork for new hires. That’s why we’ve created this 2024 hiring guide for Oregon employers. Whether you’re setting out to recruit your first employee, or you want to add to your existing team, this comprehensive guide provides seven steps you need to take to hire employees in Oregon.

If you’re a new employer, one of the first steps is ensuring you’re registered with the IRS so that you can receive a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). This assigned number is not only critical for hiring, but also for paying taxes, opening bank accounts, and acquiring business permits.

You will also need to register your business with the Oregon Employment Department and get a Business Identification Number from the Oregon Department of Revenue.

Employers are additionally required to display certain federal and state labor law posters around the workplace in areas where workers will see them. The required worksite posters can be printed from the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries website and the U.S. Department of Labor website.

In Oregon, businesses with even just one employee must secure workers’ compensation insurance, which protects businesses and employees in cases of workplace-related injury or illness. Learn more about workers’ compensation expectations on the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division website. And, discover how to improve working conditions at your company and ensure the safety and health of your employees on the Oregon OSHA website.

2.Know the labor laws in Oregon

As an employer in the state of Oregon, there are many labor laws and employee rights to be aware of and follow. There are too many to cover in one article, so we’ve compiled a list of eight key laws below to get you started.

  1. Oregon minimum wage rules vary depending on location. In metro Portland, the minimum wage is $15.95 per hour starting July 1, 2024. In urban counties, the minimum wage is $14.70 starting July 1, 2024, and for all other counties, the minimum rate of pay is $14.70 as of July 1, 2024.
  2. For each eight-hour shift, an employee works in a workday, they are to receive two rest breaks for a minimum of ten minutes each, as well as a meal break for at least 30 minutes, which can be unpaid.
  3. Time worked beyond 40 hours per week is considered overtime for non-exempt employees. Any employee who works overtime hours in Oregon is entitled to be paid at a rate of one-and-a-half times their normal wages.
  4. Employers must provide all workers with protected sick leave time. At least one hour of sick leave must be earned for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. When businesses have ten or more employees, sick time must be paid time off. This leave time can be used for employee illness, injury, mental health reasons, or doctor appointments. Employees may also use the time to care for a sick or injured family member.
  5. Companies with more than 25 workers adhere to the Oregon Family Leave Act, which requires employers to offer 12 weeks off per year (with job protection) for employees who qualify. Parental leave, medical leave for a serious health condition, military family leave, and bereavement leave are generally covered. Learn more about Oregon’s Family Leave Act here.
  6. Oregon employers with six or more employees are required to provide time off to tend to health and safety matters for workers who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, or stalking.
  7. There are numerous federal and state laws protecting minors. These laws include limitations on the work schedule (time of day), number of work hours per week, tasks performed, and meals and breaks for workers under 18.
  8. Oregon law prohibits employees from being discriminated against at work. Employers may not fire or demote workers—or deny them opportunities for promotions—based on characteristics that include but are not limited to race, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, and sexual orientation. 

3. Finalize the details for your open role(s)

Before you begin the hiring process, consider what tasks and responsibilities need to be performed, as well as what skills and experience you will require from qualified candidates. This information will help you determine if the position should be full-time or part-time and if remote working could be an option. With these details in mind, you can also consider whether or not an independent contractor is better suited for the job—as opposed to an employee.

Next, determine the compensation and benefits your company will offer. Standard benefits usually include things like health care, vision, and dental coverage, as well as paid time off, life insurance, and retirement savings options like a 401(k). To attract and retain talent, you may additionally consider offering lifestyle benefits such as childcare subsidies, flexible scheduling, wellness programs, and other non-salary perks that are meant to contribute to work-life balance and general well-being.

Craft a compelling job description that includes all of the details as well as a description of your business’ unique company culture. See step number four below for more information on achieving a positive company culture for your business.

Be sure to share your job description with relevant audiences via online job boards, social media, professional groups, and word of mouth. Current employees are a good resource for spreading the word about job openings and promoting your company, as well as recommending candidates

4. Evaluate and improve your company culture

Having a healthy company culture is important for several reasons, including for recruitment and retention of top talent. Begin by understanding which type of company culture you have so that you can better communicate your culture to your audience—whether it be in a job description, during an interview, on your website, or through your social media presence.

Get a realistic review of your company culture by talking with current (and even former) workers to learn how they perceive your culture. And remember: company culture is always a work in progress. Check out these 11 steps to improving company culture, including tips for things like providing autonomy, eliminating burnout, and embracing transparency.

5. Create or update your hiring processes

    There are many layers to successfully hiring employees in Oregon, including screening applicants, making an offer to your preferred candidates, and onboarding new workers. If you are preparing to hire your first employee, you’ll need to carefully consider what you want these processes to look like for your business. If you are adding to your growing team, take the time to evaluate your hiring process and identify areas for improvement.

    When it comes to screening applicants, take your company culture (or the company culture you wish to have) into consideration. This can be accomplished by asking interview questions that help you evaluate how and what candidates would contribute to that culture. Also consider providing interviewees with opportunities to meet with current employees, and asking them to participate in assessments that pertain to the job.

    When you’ve identified qualified candidates for your open position and you are ready to move on to the next step, it’s time to prepare a job offer. Information to include in a job offer letter includes compensation, benefits, pay schedule, payroll logistics, contingencies, starting date, and reporting structure. Check out these tips for getting a candidate to say yes to your proposal.

    When a candidate has accepted your offer, it’s time for onboarding. It is beneficial to both the new employee and your business to have a strong onboarding process in place. This is a crucial step for setting up new workers for success.

    If you need expert help streamlining your recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes, look no further! Gusto’s comprehensive HR software provides personalized offer letters, an onboarding checklist, and other useful tools for building and managing your team.

    6. Complete necessary employer paperwork

      Like almost every other step in the hiring process, onboarding new employees comes with paperwork.

      Employers must have a completed I-9 form, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each of their employees, whether they are citizens or non-citizens of the United States.

      All new hires and recently re-hired workers must be reported to the Oregon Department of Justice within 20 days of their first day of employment. The Oregon New Hire Reporting Form requires you to report your new or re-hired employee’s social security number, address, phone number, and other contact information. These details are used to identify parents who owe child support arrears. 

      If your company requires a nondisclosure agreement, employment contract, non-compete agreement, or other documents to protect your business, be sure to check these off the list during the hiring or onboarding phase as well.

      Additionally, it’s a good business practice to provide new employees with an employee handbook that covers pertinent information for your business, including policies and codes of conduct, reporting structure, and time off. Having your workers “sign off” on your employee handbook is a way to help ensure your entire team is on the same page and that each employee acknowledges their awareness of the policies and processes that are in place at your company. 

      7. Set up payroll in Oregon

        Setting up your business for payroll and understanding payroll taxes in your state can be a daunting task, especially for new employers. Gusto’s hourly and salary paycheck and payroll calculators for Oregon employers provide critical information employers need to know about unemployment insurance, Medicare, salary thresholds, final wages, and what to include on payroll stubs.

        Like everything else, payroll requires paperwork. For starters, all employees will need to complete Federal Form W-4, Employee Withholding Certificate. You will keep this document on file and use it to inform how you withhold income tax from each employee’s paychecks. This form should be updated anytime a major life event occurs that impacts an employee’s taxes, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth or adoption of a new child. Employment taxes in Oregon also require the completion of Form OR-W-4, Oregon Withholding Statement and Exemption Certificate to determine state income tax withholding.

        Oregon employers must register with Frances Online, Oregon’s new online payroll reporting system. Registration is conducted through the State of Oregon Employment Department and the system is used to process payroll and file payroll reports.

        If you don’t want to do payroll yourself, Gusto can handle it for you. Our full-service payroll platform is simple to use and backed by best-in-class customer service. 

        Nicole Rothstein Nicole Rothstein covers a variety of topics related to finance, small business advocacy, and workforce and regional development. In addition to writing for and managing several blogs and publications, she has worked closely with federations, chambers of commerce, nonprofits, small businesses and financial institutions to create impactful content marketing strategies.
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