Oregon Passes Extension on Exemption for Certain Payments from the Equal Pay Act

Oregon’s Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of a p...



Posted by Allegra Krajci on May 9 2022
Allegra Krajci

Oregon’s Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of a protected class in the payment of wages or other compensation for work of comparable character, unless the difference in pay can be attributed to one or more specific nondiscriminatory factors. In 2021, the act was temporarily amended to exempt certain types of payments from the act’s definition of “compensation.” Specifically, vaccine incentives, hiring bonuses, and retention bonuses are excluded from being used in pay comparison analyses for the purpose of meeting the state’s pay equity requirements. The goal of this bill has been to provide employers more opportunities to hire and retain employees, which has been a common struggle among employers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and “The Great Resignation.”

Vaccine incentives are excluded from being used for pay comparison purposes for any claims and complaints filed after April 29, 2021. Hiring bonuses to prospective employees and retention bonuses are excluded for pay comparison purposes for any claims and complaints after May 25, 2021.

This bill was scheduled to expire on March 1, 2022. However, On March 7, 2022, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the bill to extend these exemptions. This extension continues for 180 days after the end of Oregon’s COVID-19 state of emergency. Oregon’s state of emergency expired on April 1, 2022, so these extensions will remain until September 28, 2022. Once the act is reverted and the exemptions are removed, incentives and hiring bonuses can once again be used as pay comparisons for pay equity claims and complaints.

Allegra Krajci
Allegra Krajci
Allegra Krajci is a Consultant on the Compensation Services team at Berkshire Associates Inc. With a background in Industrial Organizational Psychology, Allegra uses best practices to advise clients in the area of compensation.

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