President Obama on Friday moved to require companies to report to the federal government what they pay employees by race, gender and ethnicity, part of his push to crack down on firms that pay women less for doing the same work as men.
“Women are not getting the fair shot that we believe every single American deserves,” Mr. Obama said in announcing the proposal, timed to coincide with the seventh anniversary of his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for people to challenge discriminatory pay. “What kind of example does paying women less set for our sons and daughters?”
The new rules, Mr. Obama’s latest bid to use his executive power to address a priority of his that Congress has resisted acting on, would mandate that companies with 100 employees or more include salary information on a form they already submit annually that reports employees’ sex, age and job groups.
Too often, pay discrimination goes undetected because of a lack of accurate information about what people are paid,” said Jenny Yang, the chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will publish the proposed regulation jointly with the Department of Labor. “We will be using the information that we’re collecting as one piece of information that can inform our investigations.”
The requirement would expand on an executive order Mr. Obama issued nearly two years ago that called for federal contractors to submit salary information for women and men. Ms. Yang said the rules would be completed in September, with the first reports due a year later.
“Bridging the stubborn pay gap between men and women in the work force has proven to be very challenging,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, noting that the median wage for women amounts to 79 percent of that for men. “We have seen progress, but it isn’t enough.”
White House officials said that the requirement was intended to bolster the government’s ability to penalize companies that engage in discriminatory pay practices and to encourage businesses to police themselves better and correct such disparities.
I heartily approve of such efforts. American corporations cheat workers on everything unless you bash them in the head until they relent. The pay gap doesn't exist? Time to prove it.
And yes, I know that excluding employers under 100 employees exempts about half of Americans, but it's a start.