PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Minimum wage workers in Oregon received a 50 cent raise on Monday as part of a phased-in series of annual increases.
The bump in pay impacted about 162,000 Oregonians.
The Oregon State Legislature in 2016 approved a set of increases in the minimum wage until 2022, when the wage will be tied to inflation. For the Portland metro area, the minimum wage will top out at $14.75 an hour.
The legislation also created Oregon’s unique three-tier minimum wage system to take into account differences in the state’s urban and rural regions.
In the Portland metro area, the minimum wage increased from $12 to $12.50. The standard wage is now $11.25 an hour for more than a dozen counties, including Marion, Yamhill and Tillamook. In nonurban counties, the pay was bumped to $11.
Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle said in a press release that the minimum wage increase will help protect the state’s low-income workers. She contrasted Oregon’s steady increases with the federal minimum wage — which has stayed flat for 10 years at $7.25 an hour.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy welcomes the wage increase, however, they added that it falls short of what workers need to make ends meet.
“While we should celebrate the wage raise if Oregon’s lowest-paid workers, we should also recognize that the minimum wage doesn’t come close to providing economic security,” OCPP policy fellow Audrey Mechling told KOIN 6 News.
The minimum wage increase will affect a little over 7% of the state’s employees. According to national data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, less than half of minimum wage workers are younger than 25. Roughly two-thirds of those workers are women.