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Steps To Advance Equal Pay

Chess pieces on coinsThe following discussion is an excerpt taken from a press release made available by the White House Office of the Press Secretary addressing “New Steps to Advance Equal Pay on the Seventh Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act”:

Approximately seven years ago, President Obama signed into law his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans and that help businesses to attract the strongest talent not only narrow the pay gap, but also boost productivity and benefit our economy. Yet today, the median wage of a woman working full-time year-round in the United States is about $39,600--only 79 percent of a man’s median earnings of $50,400. While the gap has narrowed slightly over the past two years, there is much more work to be done to ensure fair pay for all.

The President has identified several additional actions (see following) that his Administration is taking to further advance equal pay for all workers and to further empower working families:

  • EEOC Action on Pay Data Collection: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), in partnership with the Department of Labor, is publishing a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. The proposal would cover over 63 million employees. This step--stemming from a recommendation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force and a Presidential Memorandum issued in April 2014--will help focus public enforcement of our equal pay laws and provide better insight into discriminatory pay practices across industries and occupations. It expands on and replaces an earlier plan by the Department of Labor to collect similar information from federal contractors.

  • Call to action: The President is renewing his call to Congress to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination. States are increasingly taking action to fight pay discrimination, such as California and New York which passed equal pay laws last year and a number of States that will see legislation introduced this year. The President urges States--and employers--to take action to advance pay equality.

  • White House Report: The Council of Economic Advisers is releasing an issue brief, “The Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” that explores the state of the gender wage gap, the factors that influence it, and policies put forward by this Administration that can help address it. The brief highlights that the U.S. gender wage gap is now 2.5 percentage points larger than the average for industrialized countries. It also points to significant progress made since 2000 by the United Kingdom to reduce their pay gap by almost 9 percentage points and by Japan, Belgium, Ireland, and Denmark to reduce each of theirs by around 7 percentage points.

  • 2016 White House Summit: The White House will host a Summit on “The United State of Women” on May 23rd together with the Department of State, the Department of Labor, the Aspen Institute, and Civic Nation. The summit, which comes nearly two years after the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, will create an opportunity to mark the progress made on behalf of women and girls domestically and internationally over the course of this Administration and to discuss solutions to the challenges they still face. The Summit is being held with additional cooperation from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, the Tory Burch Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

The President’s Council of Economic Advisers has continued to spotlight the pay gap and other challenges women face in the workforce as well as policy solutions proposed by the Administration to address these persistent challenges.

Within the last few days the Obama administration announced executive action that would require companies with 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity. The proposed regulation is being jointly published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor. It is hoped that this transparency will help to root out discrimination and reduce the gender pay gap.

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