Risk & Compliance

White House Shelves Obama’s Equal Pay Rule

The move to block additional wage data reporting requirements is "an all-out attack on equal pay," a women's rights advocate says.
Matthew HellerAugust 30, 2017
White House Shelves Obama’s Equal Pay Rule

Business groups notched another victory over Obama-era policies as the Trump administration blocked a rule requiring employers to report detailed pay data broken down by gender and race.

The Obama administration saw the rule as a way to address wage gaps. It was scheduled to go into effect next month and would have required employers with at least 100 workers to report more than 3,300 categories of wage data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — up from the 130 categories they are now required to report.

But in a letter to the EEOC, the White House Office of Management and Budget said the rule had been shelved for further review.

“Among other things, OMB is concerned that some aspects of the revised collection of information lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues,” the letter stated.

As Reuters reports, the move is the Trump administration’s “latest bid to undo Obama-era policies designed to help workers or unions. The administration has also moved to scrap rules extending mandatory overtime pay to millions of workers and expanding reporting requirements for companies when they respond to union campaigns.”

On average, women in the U.S. are paid 80 cents for every dollar men earn, according to federal data. The U.S Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the additional reporting requirements would have cost employers $1.3 billion a year.

“This is a common-sense decision,” Randy Johnson, a senior vice-president for the chamber, said.

But advocates for women’s rights were outraged. “Make no mistake — it’s an all-out attack on equal pay,” Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center, said. “Today’s action sends a clear message to employers: If you want to ignore pay inequities and sweep them under the rug, this administration has your back.”

The EEOC had hoped to use the data to better focus investigations into unlawful pay practices. The OMB’s ruling “will not alter EEOC’s enforcement efforts,” Victoria Lipnic, the commission’s acting chair, said. “The EEOC remains committed to strong enforcement of our federal equal pay laws.”

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