AAUW Statement on Obama’s Proposed Rule on Equal PayJanuary 29, 2016
Seven years ago today, President Barack Obama signed into law his first piece of legislation as president, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. At today’s event celebrating the anniversary, the president directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, to publish a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. Under the proposal, employers would first submit pay data as of the September 30, 2017, EEO-1 filing deadline, as required by the federal government. This step also expands on and replaces an earlier AAUW-supported plan for the Department of Labor to collect similar information from federal contractors.
The new proposal will cover more than 63 million employees, and the data collected will provide critical insights into the gender and racial pay gap. This step, stemming from a recommendation of the president’s National Equal Pay Task Force and a presidential memorandum issued on Equal Pay Day 2014, will help focus public enforcement of equal pay laws and provide better insight into discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations.
The Department of Labor has identified the EEOC as the best collector of this summary data from employers. AAUW has long asserted that this kind of transparency is associated with a smaller gender pay gap and that implementing this nationwide data collection is an important step in our efforts to ensure fair pay for all. The proposed rule would be an innovative improvement over the April 2014 memorandum; it’s more efficient, dramatically less costly for business, and uses existing mechanisms to collect and report the data through the annual EEO-1 filing process.
Until a federal law is passed, states will continue operating under piecemeal laws to combat unequal pay.
Learn about the pay gap in the United States, how it affects all women, and what you can do to close it.
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