Oregon’s Pay Equity Law Should Allow Employers to Pay a Travel Incentive: Part 5 of 6
The 2019 legislature should clarify that employers may pay a travel stipend to attract workers to commute long distances. Eastern Oregon manufacturers were just hit by the Oregon legislature with a law that limits the number of hours employees can work per week. This is true even though eastern Oregon can suffer from worker shortages. Some eastern Oregon manufacturers would like to incentivize workers to travel long distances to get to work to fill available jobs.
However, if more men make the choice to travel long distances for work than women, the employer could inadvertently violate Oregon’s equal pay law. The law allows employers to pay different wages to employees working in comparable jobs if one worker is required to travel. However, the legislature appears to have thought that “travel” referred only to travel that a worker does as part of his or her job duties.
The 2019 Oregon legislature should include commuting incentives in the definition of “travel,” as a bona fide reason to pay workers performing comparable work different wages. Eastern Oregon businesses need this. Many employers suffer from labor shortages and need to attract workers.
One article in a six-part series on BOLI’S Equal Pay Act.