When an employee files a wage claim under this chapter for wages earned and unpaid, and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries determines that the employer against whom the claim was filed has ceased doing business and is without sufficient assets to pay the wage claim and the wage claim cannot otherwise be fully and promptly paid, the commissioner, after determining that the claim is valid, shall pay the claimant, to the extent provided in subsection (2) of this section:
The unpaid amount of wages earned within 60 days before the date of the cessation of business; or
If the claimant filed a wage claim before the cessation of business, the unpaid amount of wages earned within 60 days before the last day the claimant was employed.
The commissioner shall pay the unpaid amount of wages earned as provided in subsection (1) of this section only to the extent of $10,000 from such funds as may be available pursuant to ORS 652.409 (Wage Security Fund) (2).
The commissioner may commence an appropriate action, suit or proceeding to recover from the employer, or other persons or property liable for the unpaid wages, amounts paid from the Wage Security Fund under subsection (1) of this section. In addition to costs and disbursements, the commissioner is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees at trial and on appeal, together with a penalty of 25 percent of the amount of wages paid from the Wage Security Fund or $200, whichever amount is the greater. All amounts recovered by the commissioner under this subsection and subsection (4) of this section are appropriated continuously to the commissioner to carry out the provisions of this section.
The commissioner has a lien on the personal property of the employer for the benefit of the fund when the claim is paid under subsection (1) of this section for the amount so paid and the penalty referred to in subsection (3) of this section. The commissioner may cause to be filed a verified written notice of claim of lien with the recording officer of the county in which the employer has its principal place of business no later than 30 days after the date the claim was paid under subsection (1) of this section. The notice of claim of lien shall contain:
A true statement of the sums paid to wage claimants and the amount of the penalty provided for in subsection (3) of this section;
The name of the owner of the personal property to be charged with the lien;
A description of the personal property to be charged with the lien sufficient for identification. If a lien is being claimed against all personal property of the employer, the description is sufficient if it states that all personal property of the employer is covered; and
Liens created by subsection (4) of this section shall have priority over any other liens or security interests perfected after the date the notice of claim is filed with the county recording officer under subsections (4) and (5) of this section.
The commissioner shall promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of this section that include, but are not limited to, prescribing procedures for a timely and cost efficient method for the payment of wage claims from the Wage Security Fund and procedures for prorating wage claims if insufficient funds are available for payment.
Nothing in this section is intended to require the commissioner to pay wage claims for which moneys are not available under ORS 652.409 (Wage Security Fund) (2). [1985 c.409 §7; 1987 c.412 §1; 1989 c.554 §3; 1999 c.374 §1; 2019 c.444 §4]