The Administration's newly announced Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force brings together the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the Department of Justice and the Office of Personnel Management. The Task Force was convened to "crack down" on violations of the nation's equal pay laws and to better coordinate the enforcement of these laws. The task force also offers recommendations for better collection of wage data, in order to ascertain the full scope of the wage gap. Third, the task force will design employer and employee education programs to improve their knowledge of rights and responsibilities under the equal pay laws. Since the General Accountability Office has identified an eleven cent wage gap between women and men in the federal workforce, the group will study the reasons for this gap. The Administration is also supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act that awaits action in the Congress.
Among the Recommendations of the Task Force are:
1. Improve interagency coordination and enforcement efforts to maximize the effectiveness of existing authorities. The EEOC, DOJ, and DOL will establish a standing working group to coordinate interagency enforcement of wage discrimination laws and to help implement Task Force recommendations. The agencies will focus on improving coordination and communication among the agencies, coordinating investigations and litigation, identifying areas in which they can issue joint guidance to employers and employees, and conducting joint training as appropriate. The agencies will confer with one another to promote consistency in policy and litigation positions, including opportunities to file amicus briefs. The working group will focus on the following specific functions.
2. Collect data on the private workforce to better understand the scope of the pay gap and target enforcement efforts. Private sector employers are not required to systematically report gender-identified wage data to the federal government. This lack of data makes identifying wage discrimination difficult and undercuts enforcement efforts. We must identify ways to collect wage data from employers that are useful to enforcement agencies but do not create unnecessary burdens on employers. The Administration will issue a notice seeking input as to whether the Equal Opportunity Survey, which was rescinded during the Bush Administration, should be redesigned in order to collect compensation data while minimizing the burden on employers.
Additional recommendations of the Task Force can be found by clicking here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/equal_pay_task_force.pdf.