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Timber Industry Exemptions from the New Manufacturing Overtime Rule

March 13, 2018

Overview

A recent amendment to Oregon’s manufacturing overtime statute clarified overtime requirements and imposed weekly caps on the number of hours that most employees in manufacturing establishments may work.  However, an existing statute exempts some timber industry workplaces from these requirements.  Under ORS 652.030, the overtime and weekly cap provisions currently do not apply to employees in sawmills, planing mills, shingle mills, and logging camps.  This exemption will lapse if and when California, Washington, and Idaho adopt comparable working requirements in such places of employment.  Although this exemption is not new, it has added relevance in light of the heightened requirements of Oregon’s manufacturing overtime statute.

Not All Timber Industry Workplaces Are Exempt

It is equally important to note that ORS 652.030 does not apply to all manufacturing workplaces in the timber industry.  The statute exempts specific classes of workplaces—sawmills, planing mills, shingle mills, and logging camps.  The Bureau of Labor and Industries (“BOLI”) takes a restrictive view of these exemptions.  In OAR 839-001-0127, BOLI interpreted the timber industry mill exemptions to cover only mills that are exclusively engaged in narrowly defined scopes of work, as follows:

Until the states of Washington, Idaho, and California enact legislation similar to ORS 652.020, the provisions of that statute do not apply to employees employed in the following establishments:

  1. A sawmill. As used in this rule, a sawmill means a mill that is exclusively engaged in the manufacture and distribution of lumber made from logs by use of saws to cut the logs into various size boards.
  2. A shingle mill. As used in this rule, a shingle mill means a mill exclusively engaged in the manufacture and distribution of wooden shingles.
  3. A planing mill. As used in this rule, a planing mill means a mill exclusively engaged in the planing of lumber so as to finish the boards cut in the sawmill and in the distribution of the finished forest product.

OAR 839-001-0127.  Under BOLI’s interpretation of the statute, a mill producing laminated wood products, other engineered wood products, and any other wood product outside of dimensional lumber and wooden shingles remains subject to the general manufacturing overtime and weekly hour-cap regulations.  Courts have not yet considered whether BOLI’s interpretation of the statute is correct. 

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