Pursuant to a 2002 ballot measure, Oregon state law requires an annual minimum wage adjustment to keep pace with inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian recently announced that based on the CPI the 2012 minimum wage in Oregon will be $8.80/hour, up from $8.50/hour at present. Oregon is one of several states (including Florida, Washington, Nevada and six others) which ties minimum wage assessment and increases to the CPI.

As the political debate continues to rage regarding the best ways to protect workers and jumpstart the national economy, states will continue to adopt individualized measures, such as tying increases to inflation or (at the other extreme) outright repeal of the minimum wage. Employers must always stay abreast of state law developments in each state in which they operate and ensure compliance with the maze of state wage and hour laws.