Re: Proposed Information Collection; Collection Request (ICR) for the Survey of Working Women; Comment Request (Document Citation: 80 FR 10516)
Dear Ms. Adams:
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to the proposed information collection published by the Department of Labor (the Department) on the 2015 Survey of Working Women. The National Women’s Law Center (the Center) has worked to advance opportunities for women in employment and been a leader in analysis and advocacy to promote policies that improve the lives of women and their families for over 40 years. The Center’s comments will focus on the value of collecting information on women’s employment decisions and issues at the intersection of work and family obligations.
The Center is pleased to see the Department undertaking additional data collection on women’s current employment challenges and how these issues, particularly women’s family obligations, relate to their job and career decisions. Increasing data collection on these topics is a critical part of understanding how family obligations impact women’s employment decisions and substantially improves the amount and quality of information available to employers, advocates, and other stakeholders.
Since the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau published the Working Women Count! Survey in 1994, there have been significant changes to both the economy and family life in the United States. These changes, including the Great Recession[i] and subsequent increase in low-wage workers,[ii] and the rise of women as breadwinners,[iii] have affected women’s roles in the family and the workforce. However, there is a dearth of current data regarding women’s employment decisions, leaving policymakers without the information necessary to create the best policies to address the issues facing women in the workforce today.
Expanding the available data on women’s employment choices—and how these choices might be affected by issues such as the affordability of child care, scheduling practices, sexual harassment, ability to enter non-traditional jobs, availability of paid sick leave, or stagnant or discriminatory wages—is essential for better policy creation. Collecting high-quality data on these and other issues will create a valuable resource for policymakers, employers, advocates, and other stakeholders who are concerned with ensuring that women are able to pursue their desired work and family arrangements.
Additionally important is that the factors affecting employment decisions may vary for different groups of women depending on age, gender identity, race, national origin, education level, marital or parental status, or other reasons. The Center encourages the Department to examine work and family interactions across a range of different groups of women.
The Center supports the Department’s effort to collect data on women and their perceptions about the intersection of work and family. With the relevant data, policymakers can create better policies that protect all women and their families from unfair treatment in the workplace. Lacking this data, employers, researchers, and advocates are without key information for analysis of women’s employment choices.
The Center appreciates this opportunity to comment.
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 79 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 89.5 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. New York and Hawaii 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 65.3 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 78 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.
The AFL-CIO, National Women’s Law Center, 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Momentum, National Partnership for Women and Families, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Women Employed, and the Women’s Law Project write to respectfully request that the German Government, as a major shareholder of Deutsche Telekom, press the company to reform policies that are harming its workers’, and in particular its women workers, in violation of U.S. law. The letter calls on Deutsche Telekom and its U.S. subsidiary, T-Mobile, to rescind immediately policies that restrict its US employees’ ability to take steps to address sexual harassment and other unlawful abuses of power, and to notify these employees of the rescission and their rights under the law.
Women make up two-thirds of the over 23 million workers in low-wage jobs—defined as jobs that typically pay $10.50 per hour or less—although they make up slightly less than half of the workforce as a whole.
Women working full time, year round in the United States were typically paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2014. For women of color, the gaps are even larger. This fact sheet provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to close the gap.
Women who work full time, year round in the United States are typically paid only 79 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.