Starting January 1, 2011, the Oregon minimum wage rate will increase to $8.50 per hour. If your hourly rate of pay after January 1, 2011 is less than $8.50 per hour, you likely have a minimum wage claim. While it may seem trivial that your employer did not pay the extra ten cents per hour, it is not. Oregon minimum wage law entitles you to a minimum wage civil penalty where an employer pays less than the minimum wage. This means that you could receive up to $2,040.00 for a civil penalty in addition to the unpaid minimum wages. Further, should your employment end, and your employer did not pay these minimum wages, you may be entitled to penalty wages of up to $2,040.00. These penalty wages may be in addition to your minimum wage civil penalty. Further, Oregon minimum wage law allows employees to recover their costs and attorney fees allowing some attorneys to take minimum wage cases on a contingency fee basis---essentially being paid by your employer to win your case.