Labor Dept. To Collect Summary Equal Pay Data From Federal Contractors, Subcontractors

WASHINGTON–The Labor Department plans to collect summary pay data from thousands of federal contractors and subcontractors, requiring them to – in broad categories, not individual salaries – show whether they’re paying equal pay for equal work.

“Through the Equal Pay Report, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCCP) would be able to collect summary employee pay and demographic data using existing government reporting frameworks,” the Labor Department said on August 8.

“The Equal Pay Report is one component of a larger strategy to address the reality that, despite five decades of extraordinary legal and social progress, working women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar that working men earn.  For African American women and Latinas, the pay gap is even greater,” DOL explained.

The agency put its proposal, covering contractors with at least 100 workers, contracts worth at least $50,000 and lasting more than a month, out for comments, due by November 6.

It said it not only wants to collect the data, as Democratic President Barack Obama ordered in an April 8 memo to DOL, but also hopes that providing it “will encourage greater voluntary compliance with the law.”

“The proposed Equal Pay Report would also help OFCCP direct its enforcement resources toward contractors whose summary compensation data suggests potential pay violations,” the Labor Department agency said.

The contractors would send to OFCCP reports on their total number of workers by race, ethnicity and sex, total W-2 wages for all workers – combined into one figure – for each of those categories, and total hours worked, again combined, for each category of workers.

“The Equal Pay Report would not collect any individual pay information, or any information on factors such as education or experience that may affect pay. OFCCP would protect the confidentiality of the Equal Pay Report data to the maximum extent permitted under existing law,” a fact sheet on the proposal adds.

The aggregate data, by firm, will let the office target its enforcement towards contractors that violate equal pay laws and orders.  But the aggregate pay data “on the race and gender pay gap by industry and category  will enable contractors to review their pay data using the same metrics as OFCCP and take voluntary compliance measures,” DOL said.