2015 ORS 656.027¹
Who are subject workers

All workers are subject to this chapter except those nonsubject workers described in the following subsections:

(1) A worker employed as a domestic servant in or about a private home. For the purposes of this subsection "domestic servant" means any worker engaged in household domestic service by private employment contract, including, but not limited to, home health workers.

(2) A worker employed to do gardening, maintenance, repair, remodeling or similar work in or about the private home of the person employing the worker.

(3)(a) A worker whose employment is casual and either:

(A) The employment is not in the course of the trade, business or profession of the employer; or

(B) The employment is in the course of the trade, business or profession of a nonsubject employer.

(b) For the purpose of this subsection, "casual" refers only to employments where the work in any 30-day period, without regard to the number of workers employed, involves a total labor cost of less than $500.

(4) A person for whom a rule of liability for injury or death arising out of and in the course of employment is provided by the laws of the United States.

(5) A worker engaged in the transportation in interstate commerce of goods, persons or property for hire by rail, water, aircraft or motor vehicle, and whose employer has no fixed place of business in this state.

(6) Firefighter and police employees of any city having a population of more than 200,000 that provides a disability and retirement system by ordinance or charter.

(7)(a) Sole proprietors, except those described in paragraph (b) of this subsection. When labor or services are performed under contract, the sole proprietor must qualify as an independent contractor.

(b) Sole proprietors actively licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement). When labor or services are performed under contract for remuneration, notwithstanding ORS 656.005 (Definitions) (30), the sole proprietor must qualify as an independent contractor. Any sole proprietor licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and involved in activities subject thereto is conclusively presumed to be an independent contractor.

(8) Except as provided in subsection (23) of this section, partners who are not engaged in work performed in direct connection with the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, moving or demolition of an improvement on real property or appurtenances thereto. When labor or services are performed under contract, the partnership must qualify as an independent contractor.

(9) Except as provided in subsection (25) of this section, members, including members who are managers, of limited liability companies, regardless of the nature of the work performed. However, members, including members who are managers, of limited liability companies with more than one member, while engaged in work performed in direct connection with the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, moving or demolition of an improvement on real property or appurtenances thereto, are subject workers. When labor or services are performed under contract, the limited liability company must qualify as an independent contractor.

(10) Except as provided in subsection (24) of this section, corporate officers who are directors of the corporation and who have a substantial ownership interest in the corporation, regardless of the nature of the work performed by such officers, subject to the following limitations:

(a) If the activities of the corporation are conducted on land that receives farm use tax assessment pursuant to ORS chapter 308A, corporate officer includes all individuals identified as directors in the corporate bylaws, regardless of ownership interest, and who are members of the same family, whether related by blood, marriage or adoption.

(b) If the activities of the corporation involve the commercial harvest of timber and all officers of the corporation are members of the same family and are parents, daughters or sons, daughters-in-law or sons-in-law or grandchildren, then all such officers may elect to be nonsubject workers. For all other corporations involving the commercial harvest of timber, the maximum number of exempt corporate officers for the corporation shall be whichever is the greater of the following:

(A) Two corporate officers; or

(B) One corporate officer for each 10 corporate employees.

(c) When labor or services are performed under contract, the corporation must qualify as an independent contractor.

(11) A person performing services primarily for board and lodging received from any religious, charitable or relief organization.

(12) A newspaper carrier utilized in compliance with the provisions of ORS 656.070 (Definitions for ORS 656.027, 656.070 and 656.075) and 656.075 (Exemption from coverage for newspaper carriers).

(13) A person who has been declared an amateur athlete under the rules of the United States Olympic Committee or the Canadian Olympic Committee and who receives no remuneration for performance of services as an athlete other than board, room, rent, housing, lodging or other reasonable incidental subsistence allowance, or any amateur sports official who is certified by a recognized Oregon or national certifying authority, which requires or provides liability and accident insurance for such officials. A roster of recognized Oregon and national certifying authorities will be maintained by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, from lists of certifying organizations submitted by the Oregon School Activities Association and the Oregon Park and Recreation Society.

(14) Volunteer personnel participating in the ACTION programs, organized under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, P.L. 93-113, known as the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program, whether or not the volunteers receive a stipend or nominal reimbursement for time and travel expenses.

(15) A person who has an ownership or leasehold interest in equipment and who furnishes, maintains and operates the equipment. As used in this subsection "equipment" means:

(a) A motor vehicle used in the transportation of logs, poles or piling.

(b) A motor vehicle used in the transportation of rocks, gravel, sand, dirt or asphalt concrete.

(c) A motor vehicle used in the transportation of property by a for-hire motor carrier that is required under ORS 825.100 (Certificate or permit required for commercial transportation of persons or property on public highways) or 825.104 (Federal registration and financial responsibility requirements for interstate carriers) to possess a certificate or permit or to be registered.

(16) A person engaged in the transportation of the public for recreational down-river boating activities on the waters of this state pursuant to a federal permit when the person furnishes the equipment necessary for the activity. As used in this subsection, "recreational down-river boating activities" means those boating activities for the purpose of recreational fishing, swimming or sightseeing utilizing a float craft with oars or paddles as the primary source of power.

(17) A person who receives no wage other than ski passes or other noncash remuneration for performing volunteer:

(a) Ski patrol activities; or

(b) Ski area program activities sponsored by a ski area operator, as defined in ORS 30.970 (Definitions for ORS 30.970 to 30.990), or by a nonprofit corporation or organization.

(18) A person 19 years of age or older who contracts with a newspaper publishing company or independent newspaper dealer or contractor to distribute newspapers to the general public and perform or undertake any necessary or attendant functions related thereto.

(19) A person performing foster parent or adult foster care duties pursuant to ORS 412.001 (Definitions) to 412.161 (Policy on two-parent families) and 412.991 (Criminal penalties) or ORS chapter 411, 418, 430 or 443.

(20) A person performing services on a volunteer basis for a nonprofit, religious, charitable or relief organization, whether or not such person receives meals or lodging or nominal reimbursements or vouchers for meals, lodging or expenses.

(21) A person performing services under a property tax work-off program established under ORS 310.800 (Property tax work-off programs).

(22) A person who performs service as a caddy at a golf course in an established program for the training and supervision of caddies under the direction of a person who is an employee of the golf course.

(23)(a) Partners who are actively licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and who have a substantial ownership interest in a partnership. If all partners are members of the same family and are parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, daughters or sons, daughters-in-law or sons-in-law or grandchildren, all such partners may elect to be nonsubject workers. For all other partnerships licensed under ORS 671.510 (Short title) to 671.760 (Business income tax) or 701.021 (License requirement), the maximum number of exempt partners shall be whichever is the greater of the following:

(A) Two partners; or

(B) One partner for each 10 partnership employees.

(b) When labor or services are performed under contract for remuneration, notwithstanding ORS 656.005 (Definitions) (30), the partnership qualifies as an independent contractor. Any partnership licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and involved in activities subject thereto is conclusively presumed to be an independent contractor.

(24)(a) Corporate officers who are directors of a corporation actively licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and who have a substantial ownership interest in the corporation, regardless of the nature of the work performed. If all officers of the corporation are members of the same family and are parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, daughters or sons, daughters-in-law or sons-in-law or grandchildren, all such officers may elect to be nonsubject workers. For all other corporations licensed under ORS 671.510 (Short title) to 671.760 (Business income tax) or 701.021 (License requirement), the maximum number of exempt corporate officers shall be whichever is the greater of the following:

(A) Two corporate officers; or

(B) One corporate officer for each 10 corporate employees.

(b) When labor or services are performed under contract for remuneration, notwithstanding ORS 656.005 (Definitions) (30), the corporation qualifies as an independent contractor. Any corporation licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and involved in activities subject thereto is conclusively presumed to be an independent contractor.

(25)(a) Limited liability company members who are members of a company actively licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and who have a substantial ownership interest in the company, regardless of the nature of the work performed. If all members of the company are members of the same family and are parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, daughters or sons, daughters-in-law or sons-in-law or grandchildren, all such members may elect to be nonsubject workers. For all other companies licensed under ORS 671.510 (Short title) to 671.760 (Business income tax) or 701.021 (License requirement), the maximum number of exempt company members shall be whichever is the greater of the following:

(A) Two company members; or

(B) One company member for each 10 company employees.

(b) When labor or services are performed under contract for remuneration, notwithstanding ORS 656.005 (Definitions) (30), the company qualifies as an independent contractor. Any company licensed under ORS 671.525 (Applicant for landscape contracting business license required to be independent contractor) or 701.021 (License requirement) and involved in activities subject thereto is conclusively presumed to be an independent contractor.

(26) A person serving as a referee or assistant referee in a youth or adult recreational soccer match whose services are retained on a match-by-match basis.

(27) A person performing language translator or interpreter services that are provided for others through an agent or broker.

(28) A person who operates, and who has an ownership or leasehold interest in, a passenger motor vehicle that is operated as a taxicab or for nonemergency medical transportation. As used in this subsection:

(a) "Lease" means a contract under which the lessor provides a vehicle to a lessee for consideration.

(b) "Leasehold" includes, but is not limited to, a lease for a shift or a longer period.

(c) "Passenger motor vehicle that is operated as a taxicab" means a vehicle that:

(A) Has a passenger seating capacity that does not exceed seven persons;

(B) Is transporting persons, property or both on a route that begins or ends in Oregon; and

(C)(i) Carries passengers for hire when the destination and route traveled may be controlled by a passenger and the fare is calculated on the basis of any combination of an initial fee, distance traveled or waiting time; or

(ii) Is in use under a contract to provide specific service to a third party to transport designated passengers or to provide errand services to locations selected by the third party.

(d) "Passenger motor vehicle that is operated for nonemergency medical transportation" means a vehicle that:

(A) Has a passenger seating capacity that does not exceed seven persons;

(B) Is transporting persons, property or both on a route that begins or ends in Oregon; and

(C) Provides medical transportation services under contract with or on behalf of a mass transit or transportation district. [1965 c.285 §9; 1971 c.386 §1; 1977 c.683 §1; 1977 c.817 §2; 1977 c.835 §7; 1979 c.821 §1; 1981 c.225 §1; 1981 c.444 §1; 1981 c.535 §3; 1981 c.839 §1; 1983 c.341 §1; 1983 c.541 §1; 1983 c.579 §3; 1985 c.431 §1; 1985 c.706 §2; 1987 c.94 §168; 1987 c.414 §161; 1987 c.800 §2; 1989 c.762 §4; 1990 c.2 §4; 1991 c.469 §1; 1991 c.707 §1; 1993 c.18 §138a; 1993 c.494 §2; 1993 c.777 §10; 1995 c.93 §32; 1995 c.216 §§3,3a; 1995 c.332 §6; 1997 c.337 §1; 1999 c.314 §91; 1999 c.402 §8; 2001 c.363 §1; 2001 c.765 §4; 2003 c.677 §1; 2005 c.167 §1; 2007 c.465 §6; 2007 c.541 §9; 2007 c.721 §1; 2007 c.836 §49; 2008 c.32 §§2,3]

Notes of Decisions

"Domestic service" refers to performance primarily of household duties and chores; maintenance of home; and care, comfort and convenience of household members. Gunter v. Mersereau, 7 Or App 470, 491 P2d 1205 (1971)

Where nature of employ­ment is in course of business, trade or profession of subject employer, employ­ment will not qualify as casual regardless of casual nature of particular employee's employ­ment. Buckner v. Kennedy's Riding Academy, 18 Or App 516, 526 P2d 450 (1974), Sup Ct review denied; Hunnicutt v. Dollarhyde, 95 Or App 375, 768 P2d 444 (1989)

Employer "business" includes enterprises that are temporary or engaged in as side­line ac­tivity. Carlile v. Greeninger, 35 Or App 51, 580 P2d 588 (1978), Sup Ct review denied; Fincham v. Wendt, 59 Or App 416, 651 P2d 159 (1982), Sup Ct review denied

Where employee is subject worker when performing principal duties, employee does not cease to be subject worker upon engaging in mi­nor amounts of exempt work. Anfilofieff v. SAIF, 52 Or App 127, 627 P2d 1274 (1981); Gordon v. Farrell, 85 Or App 590, 737 P2d 654 (1987), Sup Ct review denied

County jail inmates performing work authorized by ORS 169.320 (Control over prisoners) were not subject workers where county had not filed elec­tion of coverage re­quired by ORS 656.041 (City or county may elect to provide coverage for jail inmates). Westfall v. Multnomah County, 57 Or App 459, 645 P2d 561 (1982)

Cooperative organiza­tion was not exempt from workers' compensa­tion coverage as partnership where workers could be excluded from partnership at will by other members and worker control was through elected representatives. Associated Reforesta­tion Contractors v. Workers Comp. Bd., 59 Or App 348, 650 P2d 1068 (1982), Sup Ct review denied

Whether work on buildings "about" private home falls under exemp­tion depends on whether buildings were used for private or business purpose. Fincham v. Wendt, 59 Or App 416, 651 P2d 159 (1982), Sup Ct review denied

Statutory language and public policy implicit in Workers' Compensa­tion Act prohibit award of compensa­tion for injuries suffered by worker employed by contract to engage in crim­i­nal activities. DePew v. SAIF, 74 Or App 557, 703 P2d 259 (1985)

Claimant's receipt of benefits under the Longshoreman's and Harbor Workers' Compensa­tion Act excludes him from coverage under ORS chapter 656. State v. SAIF Corpora­tion, 91 Or App 715, 756 P2d 76 (1988)

Fact that employ­ment is casual does not deprive employee of protec­tion if employ­ment is in course of trade, business or profession of employer. Hunnicutt v. Dollarhyde, 95 Or App 375, 768 P2d 444 (1989)

Householder exemp­tion is limited to work similar to listed types and performed in or around an already existing private home. Caddy v. SAIF, 110 Or App 353, 822 P2d 156 (1991)

Within context of general premium audit, whether pay­ment was for board and lodging received from charitable organiza­tion depended on predominant use of pay­ment by recipient group. Oregon Country Fair v. Natl. Council on Comp. Ins., 129 Or App 73, 877 P2d 1207 (1994)

Initial determina­tion is whether per­son is worker under ORS 656.005 (Definitions), then determina­tion is made whether per­son found to be worker is nonsubject worker. S-W Floor Cover Shop v. Natl. Council on Comp. Ins., 318 Or 614, 872 P2d 1 (1994)

For holder of leasehold interest to also be per­son who "maintains" equip­ment, per­son must have substantial interest in equip­ment requiring responsibility for maintenance to same extent as owner or other individual having financial invest­ment in equip­ment. Broadway Deluxe Cab v. Natl. Council on Comp. Ins., 133 Or App 324, 891 P2d 1326 (1995), Sup Ct review denied

Employer is not re­quired to be occupying home at time of injury for private home excep­tion to apply. Blevins v. Mitchell, 138 Or App 29, 906 P2d 293 (1995)

Applica­tion of casual employ­ment wage limit to "any 30-day period" makes employer subject to insurance require­ment if wages have ever exceeded limit, notwithstanding that wages were below limit during 30-day period surrounding injury. Deer Lodge Apart­ments v. Hartman, 156 Or App 634, 966 P2d 245 (1998)

Oregon employer's employee who is injured while working permanently outside Oregon is not subject worker. Nelson v. SAIF, 212 Or App 627, 159 P3d 379 (2007), Sup Ct review denied

Law Review Cita­tions

27 WLR 110 (1991); 32 WLR 217 (1996)

Law Review Cita­tions

55 OLR 432-445 (1976); 16 WLR 519 (1979); 22 WLR 559 (1986)

Chapter 656

Notes of Decisions

Party having af­firm­a­tive of any issue must prove it by preponderance of evidence unless legislature fixes some different quantum of proof. Hutcheson v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 288 Or 51, 602 P2d 268 (1979)

Amend­ments to existing statutes and enact­ment of addi­tional statutes by 1995 legisla­tion generally apply to pending cases and to orders still ap­pealable on June 7, 1995, effective date. Volk v. America West Air­lines, 135 Or App 565, 899 P2d 746 (1995), Sup Ct review denied

Amend­ments to existing statutes and enact­ment of addi­tional statutes by 1995 legisla­tion do not extend or shorten procedural time limita­tions with regard to ac­tions taken prior to June 7, 1995, effective date. Motel 6 v. McMasters, 135 Or App 583, 899 P2d 1212 (1995)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Benefit unavailability for inmates engaged in prison work programs, (1996) Vol 48, p 134

Law Review Cita­tions

24 WLR 321, 341 (1988); 32 WLR 217 (1996)


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 656—Workers' Compensation, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors656.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 656, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano656.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.