On Equal Pay Day, Fagan issues report finding state worker wage gaps remain, 6 years after Pay Equity Bill
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released an advisory report from the state Audits Division Tuesday, examining the impact of House Bill 2005, also known as the Pay Equity Bill. The report finds that despite progress, wage gaps in the state workforce persist, six years after the legislation was signed into law.
“We’ve made progress,” said Secretary Fagan. “Agencies have implemented best practices that could reduce wage gaps over time and many state employees saw their pay go up during two rounds of adjustments. On the individual level, that matters a lot. However, this report shows at the macro level, we’ve still got work to do to address persistent wage gaps in our society.”
- Despite progress, wage gaps in the state workforce persist.
- Women on average earned 83 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts in 2015. The gap remains the same today. People of color on average earned 91 cents on the dollar compared to their white counterparts in 2015. The gap has increased to 88 cents on the dollar today.
- On average, we found white employees received the largest pay adjustments in 2019 and 2022 while people of color received the smallest. The median wage gap for people of color has gotten wider since 2015. Women received more raises than men, but not enough to close the median wage gap. Women of color continue to have the largest wage gaps.
- State employees have grown more diverse over the past 15 years.
Factors contributing to persistent wage gaps
The Pay Equity Bill allows for some circumstances where wage gaps may be reasonable, such as differences in education, experience, or seniority. Systemic issues in our society impacting those factors are likely contributing to persistent wage gaps among state employees.
Discrimination and other systemic issues have historically contributed to women and people of color earning lower wages for the same work as their male or white colleagues. The purpose of HB 2005 was to reduce differences in employee compensation for employees performing the same work. In the following years, the State of Oregon completed two equal-pay analyses and implemented salary adjustments for employees based on these analyses.
To complete our review, the Oregon Audits Division analyzed payroll data from the Department of Administrative Services for the purpose of determining if previously identified wage gaps have closed.
Download the report at https://sos.oregon.gov/audits/Documents/2023-11.pdf