State law requires that all wages earned by an employee not exceeding $10,000 must be paid to the employee's surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, wages may be paid equally to any dependent children or their guardians or the conservators of their estates (ORS Sec. 652.190).
“Wages” means compensation based on time worked or output of production and includes every form of remuneration payable for a given period to an individual for personal services (e.g., salary, hourly wages, commission, and bonus).
If an employee's survivors cannot be located or if the wage debt exceeds $10,000, the employer should contact the local probate court for instructions.