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Equal Compensation for Equal Work FAQs


This proposed amendment requires that salary, pension, health care and other benefits for Oregon government employees be consistent with the salary and benefits of people who hold comparable jobs in the private sector.

What the Amendment Accomplishes

In Oregon, overly generous government employee pensions, health insurance and other benefits are draining state resources away from classrooms and other essential services.

The purpose of this proposed amendment is to establish a policy that Oregon governments should compensate their employees equally to the compensation of non-government employees in similar jobs—neither significantly higher, nor significantly lower.

It’s not fair that government employee benefits frequently greatly exceed the benefits that most Oregonians receive for the same type of work.

How it Works

The Equal Compensation for Equal Work Amendment adds a section to Oregon’s Constitution requiring that all state and local governments provide their employees with pay (wages and salaries) and benefits (health and other insurance, pensions and other retirement, vacation and other paid time off) that are equal (plus or minus 5%) to non-government employees in comparable jobs.

For government jobs that do not have a comparable job in the private sector, like a fire fighter or police officer, the amendment requires the legislature to match the compensation of those Oregon employees to government employees with these jobs in similar states. Government senior managers would have a compensation ceiling of 5% more than other private sector jobs.

Oregon government bodies will have flexibility to implement this requirement. They must report publicly the total compensation for each government job and how they determined the compensation is comparable to similar private sector jobs. The Oregon State Legislature is required to adopt legislation to help implement these requirements.

Facts from Priority Oregon’s Analysis of Oregon Government Employee Benefits

  • Oregon is the only state where state government employees are not required to contribute to their defined benefit pension.
  • The retirement benefit of an Oregon government employee is at least 2.5 times more than the average private sector employee.
    • If two employees start today, the private sector employee gets 4.9% of salary toward their pension and government employee gets 12.74%–not counting any employer-paid contributions toward their 401K-like account called the “IAP.”
  • Oregon state employees only contribute between 1%-5% toward their health care coverage. Private sector employees working for companies with 50+ employees pay on average 25% toward their health care coverage.
  • Government employees in Oregon get more paid days off than other working Oregonians. If you have worked for government in Oregon for 10 years, you get 13 more paid days off than other working Oregonians.

Total Compensation Comparison Table

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