By Victor Ochieng
In a move to address the issue, the Obama administration is seeking to introduce a new rule that will require all companies employing more than 100 people to disclose their pay data, broken down into race, ethnicity and gender.
Several studies have shown a stark imbalance in pay in terms of race and gender, with some of the biggest tech companies topping the charts. The first bill of the Obama administration was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill making it easier for female employees to seek court redress in case of discriminatory pay.
Sadly, the pay gap between women and men has remained persistently wide, with Black and Latina women being the most affected, said Obama while unveiling the proposal. The president declared his commitment to working towards reducing the gap.
“Social change never happens overnight,” he said. “It is a slog and there are times when you just have to chip away and chip away. … It’s reliant on all of us to keep pushing that boulder up the hill.”
The president noted that without the pay data, it’s a challenge enforcing equal pay thus the need to ask companies to provide the data so as to give “better insight” into the gender pay gap within the American job market.
The requirement would see pay data relating to 63 million employees submitted, according to the government. The first reporting, according to the requirement, is expected in the fall of 2017.
NPR’s Scott Horsely clarified that “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission already collects data from big employers about the ethnic, racial and gender makeup of their workforce. Now, the EEOC wants employers to add pay information as well. … The proposed EEOC rule is more expansive than an earlier proposal that would have applied only to federal contractors.”
The Obama administration is also calling on Congress to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill the administration has introduced several times with no success.
Obama is also calling on individual states to take measures to ensure equal pay is fully implemented.
During the call, the White House noted that the median wage for female employees is 79% that of men’s median wage. That shows a slight improvement from the prior stat of 77%.