On Jan. 29th, the Obama Administration hosted Equal Pay Day, marking the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of law that President Barack Obama signed into law as president.
At this summit, various leaders – including officials from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – were invited to speak and address the issues of the gender pay gap and equal pay for equal work.
During this convening, EEOC Chairman Jenny R. Yang prepared some remarks, elucidating the EEOC’s commitment to combatting gender discrimination and the gender pay gap. In her opening comments, Chairman Yang explained that:
Too often pay discrimination goes undetected because of the lack of information about what people are paid. Too many hard-working Americans are still not paid equally for equal work. No one should be paid less simply because of her gender, race, or ethnicity. Considerable research demonstrates that even when people perform the same work and have the same qualifications, significant pay gaps persist.
At the EEOC, we have seen that play out time and again. Since the creation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force in 2010, the EEOC has investigated tens of thousands of charges of pay discrimination, and through our enforcement efforts, we have obtained more than $85 million in monetary relief for those who have faced pay discrimination based on sex.
EEOC’s Proposed Action Plan for Combatting the Gender Pay Gap Explained
Following this introduction, Chairman Yang went on to provide an overview of the EEOC’s proposal for eliminating the gender pay gap. Specifically, Chairman Yang explained that the EEOC intends to require that U.S. employers with at least 100 employees collect and submit pay data to federal authorities – including the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
This data would not include specific or individual salaries; it would, instead, report pay data for groups of employees, by job category, gender group, etc.
According to Chairman Yang, this new requirement could be crucial in:
- Providing federal authorities with greater insight “into pay disparities across industries and occupations” – This could, in turn, help authorities better focus their resources and investigations.
- Helping employers “evaluate their own pay practices so that they can prevent pay discrimination”
The EEOC is encouraging the public to submit comments on this proposal through March 31, 2016.
In closing, Chairman Yang noted:
As Lilly Ledbetter knows too well, equal pay for equal work is long overdue. These new and important tools to prevent and combat pay discrimination, will bring us much closer to finally fulfilling the promise of equal opportunity for all.
We commend the many employers that are taking steps to evaluate their pay practices to ensure that their workers are paid fairly.
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