The National Women's Law Center recently submitted comments to the Department of Labor in strong support of the following proposed regulations:
1. Government Contractors - Requirement to Report Summary Data on Employee Compensation
We strongly support the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) proposal to collect pay data from federal contractors and subcontractors andincorporate it into the agency’s decisions about how to allocate its enforcement resources. The Equal Pay Report will promote the critically important goals of improving enforcement of pay discrimination laws and increasing voluntary employer compliance with those laws. We also wish to make some suggestions for strengthening the proposal to ensure achievement of these goals—by expanding the scope of contractors that must report pay information, ensuring timely and accurate reporting by contractors and subcontractors, and considering relevant information in establishing priorities for enforcement activities. Finally, we share some further thoughts for how OFCCP can promote contractor compliance with pay discrimination prohibitions in its compliance evaluation processes.
2. Government Contractors - Prohibitions Against Pay Secrecy Policies and Actions
We strongly support the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP) proposed rule implementing Executive Order 13665, which requires that certain federal contractors allow employees and applicants to inquire about, discuss, and disclose compensation information without fear of retribution or penalty. Our comments provide recommendations to ensure its effectiveness. We note that although our comments are primarily focused on how the proposed rule will impact women overall and women of color specifically, the proposed rule is an important step toward narrowing the wage gap for women, workers of color, and all workers.
Families depend on women’s wages more than ever, but women working full time, year round are typically paid less than full-time, year-round male workers in every state. Nationally, women working full time, year round typically make only 78.3 cents for every dollar a man makes and the size of the disparity varies by state. Women fare best in Washington, D.C., where women working full time, year round typically make 91.3 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. New York and Maryland follow Washington, D.C. with the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings above 85 percent in both states. Women fare worst relative to men in Louisiana, where women’s earnings represented only 65.9 percent of men’s earnings.
Almost 35 years after the Pregnancy Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of her pregnancy, women still face discrimination on the job when they become pregnant. This report details what happens when some workers ask for temporary modifications of their job duties because of pregnancy, such as avoiding heavy lifting, staying off high ladders, or being permitted to sit down during a long shift.
THE EQUAL PAY ACT is the landmark law passed 50 years ago that requires employers to pay men and women equally for substantially equal work. Yet 50 years later, equal pay is still America’s unfinished business.
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work. Yet today, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the EPA by improving rememdies for pay discrimination, prohibiting employer retaliation, and facilitating class action suits in equal pay claims, among other strategies.
Recognizing that when women succeed, their families and the economy prosper, some legislative leaders are taking action to create opportunities for women in the workplace. The National Women’s Law Center applauds these efforts because investment in women’s economic security is vital for women and their families.
Pay discrimination remains a persistent problem in the workforce. In Maryland, on average, women working full-time, year-round typically earn about 85.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. Asian American women in Maryland earn only 84.2 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, and the situation is even worse for African American women (69.7 cents) and Latinas (46.6 cents). SB 424 and HB 1051, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, along with SB 425, the Wage Disclosure and Discussion Protection Act, would strengthen Maryland’s equal pay law and provide workers with the tools they need to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap.
Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,876 less per year in median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant pay disparities that remain is critical for women and their families.
Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger for many women of color working full time, year round, as African American women are paid only 64 cents, and Latinas only 56 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps translated into a loss of $19,399 for African American women and $23,279 for Latinas in 2013. Closing the wage gap is, therefore, particularly important for African American women and Latinas, who are already more likely to have lower incomes and to be in poverty than virtually all other groups. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant disparity that remains is critical for women and their families.
Employees increasingly face just-in-time scheduling practices, including being given very little notice of their work schedules, being sent home early when work is slow without being paid for their scheduled shifts, and being assigned to call-in shifts or on-call shifts that require them to call their employer or wait to be called by their employer, often within two hours of their potential shift, to find out whether they will be required to report to work. In addition, many employees have very little ability to make adjustments to their work schedules without penalty. More than a third of parents say they have been “passed over” for a promotion, a raise, or a new job due to a need for a flexible work schedule. Among low-wage workers, about half report having little flexibility in the hours that they work.
There is a growing movement to improve workplace scheduling practices so that workers and their families can better plan their lives. In the past year, lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal, state and local level to respond to these difficult scheduling practices. In 2014, San Francisco passed a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Ordinance provides scheduling protections for employees in certain types of jobs. Also in 2014, Michigan introduced a bill modeled after the federal scheduling legislation that was introduced earlier that same year, the Schedules That Work Act. And in 2015, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon introduced bills to curb difficult scheduling practices. This fact sheet provides an overview of this recently enacted and proposed state and local legislation.
Women who work full time, year round in the United States are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. It has been more than 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act and in that time we’ve seen women make huge strides forward in the labor force. Yet, more than 50 years later, the wage gap still persists. Since the passage of this landmark legislation, how much progress have women made?
Read our fact sheets on the wage gap over time for women overall, African American women, Latinas, and Asian American women.