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On March 13, the House Committee on Business and Labor held a hearing on a bill that would address a unique workforce obstacle created by Oregon’s 2017 pay equity law. This obstacle is so severe to both private- and public-sector employers that the Legislature on two occasions has granted temporary relief. House Bill 3205 would remove the obstacle for good.

The bill addresses hiring and retention bonuses, which employers often use to fill hard-to-staff positions and hire or retain highly sought-after employees. Oregon’s pay equity law makes offering such bonuses so burdensome as effectively to bar them, making ours the only state in the country to deny employers a commonly used and powerful staffing tool.

This prohibition harms employees, too, as testimony submitted by OBI’s Derek Sangston explains. It effectively bars them from maximizing their income without switching employers or moving out of state.

HB 3205 would solve this problem by permanently exempting hiring and retention bonuses from the state’s equal pay act.

Read Sangston’s full testimony here.