Key Questions Remain in Pay Equity Rulemaking

Published Thursday, July 26, 2018 4:00 pm
by OBI Staff

HB 2005, the pay equity bill passed by the 2017 Legislature, becomes law January 1, 2019, and the Bureau of Labor & Industries (BOLI) has begun the process of determining how the different aspects of the law will be implemented.

The stakes are high. HB 2005 is the most comprehensive pay equity legislation in the nation. When it is fully implemented in 2024, employers who violate it will be liable for back wages and penalties. Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) is participating in the Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC), which is defining terms and conditions contained in the bill.

The most recent meeting of the RAC was Tuesday, July 24. The committee likely will meet once more before adopting a draft and formally entering the rulemaking period, during which interested parties can submit oral and written comments.

BOLI is still considering issues such as:

  • How to determine whether jobs have comparable characteristics.
  • How to define characteristics – such as skill, effort, working conditions and levels of responsibility – that will determine whether jobs are considered comparable.
  • How cost of living will be factored into pay comparisons for workers who have the same employer but live in different areas.
  • To read the Willamette Week article, click here.
 
Answers to these questions must be determined before the end of 2018 when most aspects of HB 2005 become law. Employers, however, will not immediately be subject to penalties and increased legal risk, with those elements of the bill being phased in through January 1, 2024.
 
While many details remain to be worked out and new penalties have not been phased in, at least one pay equity lawsuit has been filed since HB 2005 passed the Legislature – and it involves a legislative employee. Willamette Week this week reported that a policy analyst in the Legislative Policy and Research Office alleges in a lawsuit in Marion County Court that she was paid less than male employees who did the same work.
 
To read the Willamette Week article, click here.

To read more about the pay equity bill and the rulemaking process, click here.