Vacation/Paid Time Off (PTO) is a wage under Oregon law. However, no Oregon law requires employers to offer vacation or PTO pay. Where an Oregon employer has agreed to pay vacation pay or paid time off (PTO), that agreement sets the terms for payment. Once the terms are met, then the vacation/PTO time becomes wages and is collectable in a wage claim. To determine whether vacation pay or paid time off is due, one generally looks to handouts, employee handbooks, emails, and testimony to determine how and when vaction/PTO wages become due. The terms can also include whether the vacation/PTO is due on separation from employment. Because the employer can opt not to provide vacation/PTO wages, it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether to bring such a claim. Often claims regarding vacation pay are added to other wage claims to reduce risk.
Commonly, vacation/PTO claims are added to claims asserting that other unpaid wages remain due, and/or failure to timely pay wages on termination claims. If the employer has agreed to pay paid time off or vacation pay at termination and does not do so, the employee likely has a wage claim for the unpaid wages, plus penalty wages for the employer's failure to pay all wages at termination. The penalty wages are calculated my multiplying the regular hourly rate by 8 hours per day for a maximum of 30 days.
Finally, because it is a wage claim, the employee can recover their costs of suit and attorney fees. Many attorneys will take such cases on a contingent bases meaning they essentially get paid to win your case.