The Basics of Senate Bill 1532

If you live in Oregon and work a job that is “minimum wage”, you should definitely know about Senate Bill 1532. This law was passed back in 2016 (with plenty of protesters and ultimately a lengthy floor debate), but has a significant impact on your life, that you most definitely feel every year. Why is that? Because this bill systematically is increasing the minimum wages in Oregon ever year through 2022.

Now if you think that’s a big deal, then you are most certainly right! Rather than watching your wages stay stagnant, despite inflation of 2 to 3% every year, you can rest assured knowing that your wages will go up – and even better, your wages will increase faster than the typical rate of inflation! How great is that?

Back in 2016, when the bill passed the minimum wage was a mere $9.25 per hour, which is pretty depressing all things considered. But by 2022, the minimum wage will actually be at least $12.50 per hour, which is a 35% increase from those 2016 levels (a very significant increase, especially when comparing it to an at most 20% effective inflation increase from 2016 to 2022).

And the reason I said “at least” in the previous sentence is simply because the exact minimum wage and how much it increases every year totally depends on where you work. There is a “Standard” minimum wage that encompasses most of northwest Oregon – they have the middle rates. However, if you live in the “Portland Metro” area, the minimum wage rates are slightly higher than the rest of the “Standard” parts of Oregon. And in the “Nonurban” counties of Oregon, the minimum wage is slightly less than that of the “Standard” parts of Oregon. But rest assured, even if you live in those nonurban counties, your minimum wage is still increasing pretty significantly compared to what it was in the past. And that is what is most important here.

So what happens after 2022? Well, instead of pre-defined wage hikes, the new minimum wages will be adjusted annually based on the US City average Consumer Price Index (in case you’re wondering, that will set the “Standard” rate, while the “Portland Metro” rate will be $1.25 higher than that, and the “Nonurban” rate will be $1.00 lower than that). What’s great about this is that even beyond 2022, you can expect the wage to continue increasing, assuming the economy stays in relatively decent shape.

Overall, Senate Bill 1532 is a real game changer for Oregon workers as a whole. Not only did it establish clear numbers for increasing minimum wages in the short term but established a set of rules for continuously increasing the minimum wage past 2022. This bill had short-term and long-term goals in mind for reshaping minimum wage laws for the state of Oregon. This was definitely a bill that screams our mantra of “Raising the Wage” and hopefully the rest of the country can follow Oregon’s example. Adopting this kind of policy across the country will mean better lives for all American people living off of minimum wages, and as a result a much more prosperous country in the long-term.