Equal Pay rule falls on federal contractors

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

DOL Proposes Equal Pay Report Requirement for Contractors

In an effort to combat persistent wage gaps between male and female workers (reports indicate women earn just 77¢ for each $1 earned by men), the U.S. Department of Labor has proposed a rule that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to submit annual reports on employee compensation.

The Department of Labor maintains that a lack of reliable data on employee compensation that includes race and gender has impaired enforcement of federal laws, such as the Equal Pay Act, that prohibit paying male and female employees different amounts for the same work. To address this lack of data, the Department of Labor’s proposed rule would require certain companies—those that file EEO-1 reports, have more than 100 employees, and hold federal contracts or subcontracts worth $50,000 or more for at least 30 days—to file annual Equal Pay Reports.

The proposed Equal Pay Reports would include summary information such as employee pay and demographic data, and would utilize existing government reporting frameworks. Enforcement resources will be directed toward federal contractors whose Equal Pay Reports suggest potential pay violations. Given the Department of Labor’s renewed emphasis on enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and related laws, employers should evaluate their own compensation and demographic data to make sure their male and female employees are receiving equal pay for equal work.

The Department of Labor will accept comments on the proposed rule from August 8 to November 6, 2014. To read and comment on the proposed rule, click here.

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