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Report shows pay gaps narrowing for State of Oregon employees, but there’s still work to do

A split image shows the left half of a man and the right half of a woman, both dressed in work clothes.
This year, March 14 is Equal Pay Day. The date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

To coincide with national Equal Pay Day, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released a report Tuesday looking at the effectiveness of Oregon’s 2017 Pay Equity Bill.

Fagan said the state boosted the pay of thousands of its employees in response to inequities found in 2019 and 2022. Oregon also implemented some best practices meant to reduce wage gaps over time.

Those include "prohibiting employers from asking about previous salary history, requiring compensation to be based on a set of objective allowable factors, and giving employees the right to sue if they believe their pay is not fair,” Fagan said during a press briefing.

Fagan said while the report shows progress, especially in hiring a more diverse government workforce, wage gaps persist. For example, women make on average 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, and people of color earn 88 cents on the dollar compared to white employees.

Although the state is not out of compliance with the law, the Secretary of State’s office recommends the legislature and the Department of Administrative Services continue to study the situation.

You can find the report here.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.