How do I hire a worker?

Important Information to Know Before Hiring Day Laborers:

Please review our Employer Agreement before hiring. This document outlines the terms for hiring a worker from the Voz Worker Center, workers' rights, and what employers can expect while hiring Voz workers.

Voz Workers' Rights Education Project is NOT AN EMPLOYMENT AGENCY, LABOR STAFFING COMPANY, NOR THE EMPLOYER OF WORKERS SEEKING JOBS IN THE COMMUNITY. Voz is a nonprofit charitable organization providing a resource for workers in the community to enhance their working conditions and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education, and economic opportunity.

Individuals employing workers for commercial activities should have Workers' Compensation insurance. Those using workers for non-business labor, such as home repairs, gardening, general cleanup, or painting of owned residential primarily occupied property, are generally exempt from Worker's Compensation requirements.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to your insurance, tax, and legal advisers.

Those hiring workers from the Voz Worker Center site will be asked to sign off on the following agreements:

Voz Workers' Rights Education Project and the Voz Worker Center are not employment agencies and therefore:

Workers are to be paid directly by employers in cash. It is the responsibility of the employer to set clear expectations and provide supervision throughout the day. If a worker is not meeting your expectations, you will be required to pay them for the time worked.

Again, Voz workers are not our employees, and they are not contractors. As their employer, you will need to provide all tools, materials, and safety equipment for the workers you employ.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know about hiring a worker when it's hot outside?

As of June 2022, rules from Oregon OSHA mandate that employers must provide and implement the following:

When the heat index reaches 80 degrees:

When the heat index reaches 90 degrees:

When the heat index reaches 100 degrees:

Who are the workers?

Our workers are men and women of all trades and experiences who are committed to the Voz values of honesty, respect, teamwork, discipline, commitment, and solidarity. All have completed an orientation and many are engaged in the leadership of our organization.

Why hire through the Voz Worker Center?

The Voz Worker Center is the only nonprofit worker center in Oregon. We are committed to finding qualified workers for the job, and advocating for a safe working environment and fair wages. All of the day laborers who use the Worker Center have made a choice to contribute to the Portland community by seeking work in an organized, respectful manner. Employers who hire with us make the choice to pay a living wage and to further our mission to end exploitation among day laborers. Thank you for hiring through the Voz Worker Center!

How do I request a worker?

It's easy to hire a worker! When you’re ready to start your project:

If you’re looking for something specific, please give us a call ahead of time, so we can ensure you get the right person for the job.

How much do I pay?

The hourly wage depends on a number of details, such as the type of work, the worker’s experience, and if a greater skill is required level.

We require a minimum of 4 hours of work per worker.

If the job you are working on requires heavy lifting or extended digging, our recommended hourly wage is $25 per hour.

Our moving rates are $20-25/hr. depending on the technical requirements of the job.

For any job requiring skilled labor (carpentry, painting, landscaping, etc.), we ask for at least $23 per hour depending on the worker's skill level and the difficulty level of the work.

See the full list of wage rates here.

You pay the worker directly when the job is finished in cash. Voz does not take any commission or fee. All of what you pay goes directly to the worker.

Do I have to pick up the worker?

If you are unable to come by the Worker Center, workers can be sent via the bus or MAX. A small number of our workers have their own transportation and may be able to drive to the job site. Compensation for gas is greatly appreciated.

Still, the easiest way to hire workers is to come and pick them up at our Worker Center at 3575 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

Please review our Employer Agreement for more information.

When you hire a day laborer or domestic worker, you are considered an employer and, as such, need to ensure that workers have access to clean drinking water and restrooms while on the job. If there is no restroom on the job site, please communicate this with the dispatchers while creating the work order and be prepared to direct the workers to the closest available restroom.

It is your responsibility to provide a safe work environment, including all necessary tools for the job and safety equipment. If you do this, you can prevent most injuries.

You will also need to ensure that workers take paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks as required by state and federal law. Rest breaks are paid 10-minute breaks (a 2- to 6-hour shift = 1 break, a 6- to 10-hour shift = 2 breaks). Oregon labor laws require employers to provide employees with at least one 30-minute unpaid, uninterrupted meal period when the work period is six hours or more.

Where does my money go?

The workers keep 100% of their pay. Voz does not take a commission or receive any money from its workers. Voz is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the cost of running the Worker Center is covered by grants and donations. By hiring a worker, the wages you provide will directly benefit that worker. Additionally, making a donation to Voz can help dozens more access the employment and education opportunities we provide.

Am I required to provide workers’ compensation coverage?

Voz workers are not considered employees of Voz, and they are not independent contractors.

Voz does not provide insurance, and workers do not have their own insurance.

If you are a homeowner hiring casual labor for work within your private residence, or if the working relationship is casual (i.e., the worker earns less than $1000 in a one-month period), you may be exempt from providing workers' compensation insurance.

However, if there's a possibility that you might pay a casual worker $1000 or more within one month, you could be obligated to provide workers' compensation coverage.

For business owners or contractors, hiring a Voz worker would be considered hiring an employee. As such, it's crucial to adhere to all applicable labor laws. Consult with your accountant or the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) to understand your responsibilities as an employer.

Does Voz perform background checks on its workers?

We do not do background checks. All of our workers register and go through an orientation with us. As part of the orientation process, workers are required to sign our agreement, committing to adhere to the established rules of the Worker Center.

Do I have to report the wages I am paying to the IRS?

If you are a homeowner hiring casual labor, you do not have to report payment to the IRS. If you are a business, check with your accountant or with BOLI about your tax obligations.

Do I have to provide employment paperwork when I hire a worker?

Form 1099 is not required for casual domestic services, which refers to individuals (such as a handyman, babysitter or cleaning person) employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular or intermittent basis.

If you are a business, check with your accountant or with BOLI to find out which forms you need to fill out.

How do I know the worker I hire will be able to do the requested job well?

Voz workers have earned an exceptional reputation. Many of our workers have undergone specialized training in areas such as moving, basic yard care, green cleaning, and more. You may request a specialized worker when placing your work order, and we will do our best to provide you with a worker with the relevant skills and experience. If we are unable to find someone with this experience, we will let you know.

What do I do if I am dissatisfied with the job? Do I still have to pay them?

If, for any reason, you are dissatisfied with the work in progress, kindly ask the worker(s) to stop and compensate them for the work already completed. Contact us to request a replacement worker. If you reach out to us before 12 pm, we will make every effort to send you a replacement on the same day.

It's important to note that Voz does not employ the workers we refer. When you make the decision to hire them, you become their employer, and they are considered your employees. Voz is not responsible for any such failure in worker performance or for any damage or injuries that could conceivably occur during the performance of the work you have hired these workers to perform. We do welcome your feedback on the experience you have in hiring workers from Voz.

What if the worker gets injured on the job? Am I liable?

It is your responsibility to provide a safe work environment, including safety equipment and tools. By doing so, you can prevent most injuries. If you are a business, you are hiring an employee under Oregon State law, and all employees are covered by workers' compensation insurance. If you are a homeowner, check your homeowners' insurance to see if you are covered.

Should an injury occur at the worksite, please determine if the worker needs medical attention. Let Voz’s Dispatch Team know as soon as possible via a phone call or by email so that they may assist the worker. You can contact Voz at (503) 234-2043 or

If you notice that a worker needs more guidance on a specific task, please be open to demonstrating that task to them in order to prevent an injury from occurring.

What happens if I hire a worker but do not have homeowner’s insurance and/or workers’ compensation?

Most of the time when a day laborer is hurt on the job, access to medical insurance is not available, and medical costs are high. Additionally, a day laborer does not have paid time off while unemployed and recovering from an injury.

For these reasons, it’s possible that the worker may ask for a one-time donation from you to go towards their medical costs/costs of living in support of their recovery period. This donation can be tax-deductible.

Usually, $850.00 can cover a day laborer’s portion of rent, utilities (i.e., gas, electricity, water), and food for a month. You are not obligated to donate this amount, but we provide this information as it represents significant support to the worker.

For more information: