For Americans who’ve ever wondered whether the person in the next cubicle doing the same job is being paid more, or those who’d like their companies to take a hard look at inequality on the payroll—there’s good news from the government.
On Friday, 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—which, according to the White House, leaves women in full-time jobs earning 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. Further, a report from the Council of Economic Advisers found that the gender wage gap in the U.S. is 2.5 percentage points larger than the average among industrialized countries.
The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which Obama signed into law in 2009 and allows employees to file lawsuits regarding equal pay for up to 180 days after a discriminatory paycheck. On Friday, Obama will also be calling Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.