EEOC Action on Pay Data Collection is a ‘Bold, Important Step’ That Can Help Identify and Stop Wage Discrimination

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Seven years ago today, President Barack Obama made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the very first bill he signed into law. With that stroke of his pen, he restored vitally important protections against wage discrimination and set the tone for his administration’s tough, aggressive actions to level the playing field for women in the workforce. Women, families, our economy and our country are much better off because of this president’s determination to see that all women have equal opportunity, fair wages and promotions, and a real chance at economic security.

Today, the Obama administration announced further initiatives to build on that proud record. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) proposal to update its existing data collection tool to collect wage data from businesses with 100 or more employees is very welcome news. With these new data, the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will be much better able to identify and stop wage discrimination of all kinds. This is a bold, important step that will capture salary data from employers that collectively employ more than 63 million workers.

At this time when women who are employed full time, year round in the United States are paid just 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, and the wage gap is even worse for women of color, there is no time to waste. We urge the EEOC to proceed quickly to finalize the updated form so data collection can begin in 2017. We pledge to fight for budgets sufficient for the EEOC to analyze and report on what the data show, and for the EEOC and DOL to ensure vigorous investigation and enforcement activities.

We also are thrilled that the administration will hold a White House Summit on the United State of Women this May. The 2014 White House Summit on Working Families catalyzed momentum for the family friendly policies the country needs. We expect this summit to have an equally significant impact.

The administration is once again advancing fair and family friendly workplace policies, and Congress must step up as well. It is a disgrace that the Paycheck Fairness Act has languished for so long. We need Congress to pass that bill – to prohibit retaliation against workers who discuss their salaries, to train women and girls to negotiate, to strengthen investigation and enforcement by federal agencies, to recognize employers with good pay practices and to help small businesses adopt such policies – this year.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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