This bill modifies definition of “compensation,” for purposes of pay equity requirements, to exclude hiring bonuses and retention bonuses.
Amendment -3 states: “An employer may pay employees for work of comparable character at different compensation levels pursuant to a signing, hiring or retention bonus, provided the employer does not discriminate between employees on the basis of a protected class in the payment of the bonus.”
Oregon’s pay equity law makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to pay wages or other compensation to any employee at a rate greater than other employees of a protected class for work of a comparable character, which includes seniority, measured earnings, location, travel, education, training, experience or combination. Employers may not reduce compensation to comply, and are liable for unpaid wages if they violate the pay equity law.
In 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed House Bill 2818, temporarily exempting hiring and retention bonuses from the definition of “compensation” for purposes of the pay equity law. The exemption applied only to complaints filed with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) and to claims filed in circuit court on or after May 25, 2021 until the exemption expired on March 1, 2022. In 2022, the Legislative Assembly passed Senate Bill 1514, temporarily reestablishing the exemption for hiring and retention bonuses from the definition of “compensation” after March 1, 2022, until 180 days following the expiration of the state of emergency that was declared by the Governor on March 8, 2020. The state of emergency declared by the Governor expired on April 1, 2022 and the exemption expired on September 28, 2022.
The bill excludes hiring bonus and retention bonus from “compensation.” The amendment doesn’t exclude them from compensation, but allows different compensation within nondiscrimination boundaries.
RATING IS BASED ON THE AMENDMENT.