April 12th, 2016

Women Everywhere “Celebrate” Equal Pay Day

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 has been chosen as this year’s symbolic representation of the date on which women working full-time jobs in the United States would “catch up” to the wages earned by their male counterparts in 2015.  Today we “celebrate” the wage gap between men and women in comparable positions.  Women are paid around 79% of men, and the gap widens in the face of diversity – with black women making 60% and Latinas making 55% on average, compared to their white male counterparts.

Observance of Equal Pay Day frames the debate on-going in the legal, business, and human resource industries regarding proposed changes to the reporting requirements of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which would require employers to provide compensation information for their employees, in addition to the currently reported employee data of sex, race and ethnicity.  The Employer Information Report (EEO-1) is filed annually by all employers in the United States having 100 or more employees and includes a breakdown of all employees by job category, sex, race and ethnicity.  The EEOC now proposes requiring aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked by employees (to be effectively required beginning in September 2017).  While this adds a reporting burden to small businesses and HR departments, the EEOC and the Department of Labor argue that the information would provide invaluable insight into pay disparities in various industries and occupations and inform federal efforts to combat discrimination (and, once aggregated, allow employers to compare their pay practices to industry averages).  Proponents further argue, maybe somewhat more loudly on Equal Pay Day, that collecting and reporting this information would force employers to confront inequities in their establishments, address any areas of concern, and (even better) use such data to defend against lawsuits or federal or state agency investigations, if completely compliant.

Attorney Nicole J. O’Hara is a member of Gross McGinley’s Employment Group with prior experience in the field of Human Resources.

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