Wage & Hour Laws

The University encourages all employees to take periodic time to rest and refresh while working. The following information includes requirements and expectations for WOU employees for wage and hour rules.

For additional guidance on meal periods and rest breaks for non-exempt (overtime-eligible) employees visit the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries website. If you are a non-exempt, classified employee, also refer to Article 55 – Work Schedules of the SEIU Local 503, OPEU, Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Rest and Meal Period

Rest and meal periods are required under Federal and State law for non-exempt (overtime-eligible) employees including all student employees paid hourly.

Numbers of Meal and Rest Periods Required Based on Length of Work Period

Length of Work Period Number of Rest Breaks Required Number of Meal Periods Required
2 hours or less 0 0
2 hours 1 min – 5 hours 59 min 1 0
6 hours 1 1
6 hours 1 min – 10 hours 2 1
10 hours 1 min – 13 hours 59 min 3 1
14 hours 3 2
14 hours 1 min – 18 hours 4 2
18 hours 1 min – 21 hours 59 min 5 2
22 hours 5 3
22 hours 1 min – 24 hours 6 3
BOLI Standards for Work Break Length:

Employees working a shift of four consecutive hours are entitled to a paid break not less than ten minutes in length (every 4 hours). Employees working six or more hours in a day are required to take an unpaid meal break not less than 30 minutes in length.

  • Supervisors are responsible for ensuring employees take required breaks. 
  • Best practice is for employees to leave the work space when on break to ensure they are relieved of all duties and are not interrupted.
  • Breaks should be planned based on scheduled hours.
  • Employees may not skip or combine breaks in order to arrive late, leave early, or extend their meal period.
  • Rest periods are considered time worked for purposes of calculating overtime. Meal periods are not considered time worked.

Questions? Contact Human Resources or visit the Bureau of Labor and Industry website for Rest and Meal Periods.

Lactation Breaks

An additional break is available for all employees who need to manually or mechanically express breast milk for a child 18 months of age or younger (ORS 653.077). This break entitles employees to a “reasonable rest period” of no less than 30 minutes during each 4-hour work period or major part of a 4-hour work period, taken approximately in the middle of the period. This break is unpaid. It may be combined with a paid rest break and any unpaid portion may be made up by arranging a daily work schedule with an earlier start and/or later end time with supervisory approval or working fewer hours. An employee may also, at their own discretion, utilize paid vacation for the unpaid portion. To view lactation stations around campus, click here


Non-exempt employees are overtime-eligible. Non-exempt employees receive overtime pay at the rate of time and one half for working over 40 hours in a work week. Non-exempt employees covered by the SEIU Collective Bargaining Agreement may also qualify to receive contractual overtime payments when working over 8 hours or over 10 hours in a day depending on their assigned work schedule of Regular, Irregular or Flexible as outlined in the SEIU contract. Employees in this group may choose to save their overtime as “compensatory time off” rather than receiving payment for it. When an employee chooses to save their overtime for later use as compensatory time off, the overtime accrues into the leave system at the rate of time and one half to be used at a later date.

If your position is identified as Exempt, you are not eligible for overtime compensation.

Student employees: Student employees are only eligible to work 20 hours per week or less, unless approved for more hours by the VP of Student Affairs. For academic breaks, however, student employees are eligible to work a full 40 hour week, and if the department has the funds, they may be eligible to work overtime.

Note: Federal Work Study Program (FWSP) does not authorize or pay for overtime so if the FWSP employee works over 40 hours in one week, overtime will be charged 100 percent to the department.

International student employees in the United States on an F-1 Student Visa are restricted by Federal law from working more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. During the annual vacation term and when school is not is session, these students may work full-time. The annual vacation term is generally summer, and an international student is considered to be ‘on vacation’ if enrolled in any fewer than 9 credits.

Compensatory Time

Compensatory Time, time off for overtime hours worked, may be granted in lieu of payment to employees under certain conditions. Eligible non-exempt (overtime-eligible) employees may accrue time off at time and one half in accordance with federal and state laws and applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Overtime-exempt employees are not compensated for hours that exceed 40 hours per week. If special circumstances occur which require an exempt employee’s workweek to considerably exceed 40 hours, or which requires the employee to work on the weekends, a supervisor or manager is encouraged to provide work schedule flexibility, within a reasonable time frame, to accommodate for the exceptional situation.

Work Week and Professional Work Week

Non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees work week begins Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. and ends Saturday evening at 12:00 midnight. Employees in this group must report their exact number of hours worked on a daily basis. Schedules are established by supervisors and managers to accommodate departmental operational needs.

Exempt (not overtime eligible) employees must fulfill a professional work week. A professional work week is considered working the hours needed to fulfill the specific job duties. Often this is more than a 40-hour workweek. WOU’s diverse array of exempt positions may require overnight travel, weekend or evening hours, a work-at-home component, or other variations to schedules. To avoid confusion and/or conflicts about schedules, employees must work with supervisors and/or managers to establish an agreed upon schedule and the level of flexibility allowed in the schedule. As projects or activities require flexibility beyond an agreed upon schedule, employees should seek out supervisory and/or managerial approval prior to experiencing deviations to the plan. Work schedules are established by supervisors and managers in a manner to provide the best customer and operational outcomes for each of our departments.

Travel Time

Whether or not WOU must compensate a non-exempt employee for travel time depends largely on the type of travel involved. Compensable travel hours must be counted for purposes of calculating overtime. Time spent traveling during regular meal period time is not paid as time worked. Travel time payments are somewhat complex. The table below outlines various categories of travel and whether the time is compensable. Additional questions should be directed to WOU’s Human Resources staff.


Category Definition Compensable Travel Time?
Portal-to-Portal Travel Normal home-to-work/work-to-home travel at the beginning and end of one work day No
Travel Between Work Sites Travel in the course of a day’s work from one job site to another Yes, however, the travel from home to the first location need not be compensated. Once the employee arrives at the first required location, the employee is “on the clock” and the subsequent travel time is compensable.
Special One-Day Assignment Employee is sent on a one-day assignment to a city more than 30 miles from the employee’s fixed official workstation Yes
Overnight Travel Travel that keeps an employee away from home overnight Yes, whenever travel cuts across an employee’s regular work hours (applies to all seven days of the week). For example, an employee regularly works Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Travels on Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Employee records 3.0 hours worked for Sunday (2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., normal working hours).
No, if the employee is a passenger and travel falls outside of regular work hours. Travel time must be paid whenever driving is required.


If you have further questions about wage and hour laws, the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) website.


Final Pay



Separation Type Final Pay Due
Employee quits, with less than 48 hours notice (excluding weekends & holidays). All wages due within 5 business days, or the next pay day, whichever comes first. 
Employee quits, with at least 48 hours notice (excluding weekends & holidays). All wages due on final day worked, or the following business day if last day worked falls on weekend or holiday.
Employee is terminated. All wages due by end of next business day, but preferably in termination meeting, when possible.
Employee is laid off. All layoffs must be coordinated with Human Resources. Contact your Human Resources if you anticipate needing to lay off employees.
Employee and employer mutually agree to terminate employment.  Same as termination above.


  • Supervisors are responsible for contacting HR in advance in order to meet these final pay deadlines.
  • For more information on final pay, visit the Bureau of Labor and Industries website linked here.
  • Visit the Departing Employees webpage for more information about preparing for separation, checklist, and other information to assist with this process.


Human Resources | Payroll

P: 503-838-8490 | F: 503-838-8522 | E-mail:payroll@wou.edu