Monday, February 1, 2016

Administration to Expand Labor Data-Collection Requirements

Last Friday, the President announced several new policies to "further advance equal pay for all workers and to further empower working families". The announcement contained four different initiatives including:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. This proposal would cover 63 million employees. This expands and replaces an earlier plan by the Department of Labor to collect similar information from federal contractors. See our earlier posting on that proposal: New Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Requirements for Contractors.
  • Second, the President requested Congress to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination.
  • Third, the Council of Economic Advisers is releasing a report that highlights that the U.S. gender wage gap is now 2.5 percent higher than the average for industrialized countries and points to progress made since 2000 by the United Kingdom to reduce their gap by almost nine percent and by other industrialized countries by around seven percent.
  • Finally, the White House announced a summit coming in May to "create an opportunity to mark the progress made on behalf of women and girls domestically and internationally over the course of the last seven years and to discuss solutions to the challenges they still face.

Perhaps the most impactful one of these initiatives is the expansion of pay data collection. The EEOC is proposing revisions to its EEO-1 form to require all employers with 100 or more employees - and Federal contractors with a $100,000 contract - to submit additional summary data on wages paid to their employees including gender, race, and ethnicity.

What will the EEOC (and Labor Department) do with this data? They're going to mine the data and look for employers that are shortchanging workers based on gender, race, or ethnicity. In their words:
This new policy lays important groundwork for progress toward achieving equal pay, as it will encourage and facilitate greater voluntary compliance by employers with existing federal pay laws - such as by evaluating how they are currently paying their employees. It will also assist the EEoC, and in the case of contractors the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), in better focusing investigations on employers that are unlawfully shortchanging workers based on their gender, race, or ethnicity. 
Or, as one commentator put it, the expanded data will be used to "shame" non-Federal contractors and for law enforcement purposes on Federal contractors.

The effective date of the expanded reporting requirement is September 30, 2017. You can read more about these pending initiatives on the Whitehouse website.

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